April is Youth Sports Safety Month and sports medicine specialist Thomas Merchant, M.D., with Sutter Independent Physicians, wants to spread the word on avoiding sports injuries. Dr. Merchant treats sports injuries on young athletes year round. He says overuse injuries are responsible for nearly half of all sports injuries to middle and high school students.
A common story might sound like this: A 13-year-old boy participates in baseball games and practices 12 months of the year, plays on travel teams, the local park’s little league team and then throws balls in his own backyard most nights. Then due to the prolonged, repetitive stresses on his body, he suffers an arm injury that sidelines him for the season or longer, and keeps him off the field he loves and away from his social system.