This past school year, my 12 year-old son Conner was having a great season with his school basketball team. He was playing a great game. He was going up for a rebound when he suddenly banged knees with another boy. He immediately fell to the ground, and I could tell his pain was immense. The coach took Conner out of the game and sat him on the bench. We just assumed he had a deep bone bruise, so we applied ice packs to his knee and watched the rest of the game.
Conner had a lot of trouble getting around for the next couple of days, but we just kept watching the knee and icing it. On the third day, we realized that the swelling was NOT going down. We thought the injury might be something more serious and decided to see a doctor.
We had 2 different orthopedic surgeons consult on Conner’s injury. The area was hard to see on X-ray. It turned out that my son’s cartilage was completely knocked off his knee and he had dislocated his knee cap. They told us he was going to have to have surgery within 3 days.
My husband and I were in shock. Then the really bad news came for Conner: the surgeon said he could not play youth sports for 9 months.
My son said “Mom, I can get through the surgery, but going 9 months without sports is going to be very difficult. “ We tried to keep his attitude positive and reminded him that the injury would heal, and that thankfully this was not a disease or a more serious illness. Broken bones can be fixed!
Five months later, Conner is recovering well. He attends physical therapy at least twice a month to help strengthen his knee. While he is unable to be on his favorite summer swim team and play basketball this summer, he realizes this is temporary. He continues to have a positive attitude and is anxious to get back to sports.
We learned a very important lesson with Conner’s injury. When kids fall or are injured playing youth sports, you can’t take it lightly. Though we can’t see what’s happening on the inside of their little bodies, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Here we thought Conner’s injury was a deep bone bruise and it ended up being much more serious. If you have any doubt about a youth sports related injury, take your child to the doctor.
Additional Resources on Youth Sports Safety
Safe Kids Worldwide, of which Johnson & Johnson is founding sponsor, provides parents, athletes and coaches a wealth of information on preventing youth sports injuries. Read their report, Changing The Culture of Youth Sports for information on youth sports safety.
Check out the Safe Kids Worldwide sports safety tip sheet.
This article is intended to contain general information and should not be considered a substitute for, and does not provide, medical advice. If you have questions or concerns regarding your physical health or the health of your children, please seek assistance from a qualified healthcare provider. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and may not reflect those of Johnson & Johnson.
Dolores Hall is an Executive Cardiovascular Sales Representative for Janssen Pharmaceuticals. She is married and has four children – Vaughn, 14, Conner 12, Walker 10, and Charlotte, 5. She enjoys spending time with her family and loves swimming, biking, and running. Dolores has already competed in 7 triathlons this year, and has recently qualified for a National triathlon.