Lee County Injury Prevention Coalition is partnering with Lee Memorial Health System to launch the STOP Sports Injuries campaign, part of a national sports injury prevention program. The campaign is designed to educate athletes, parents, athletic trainers, coaches, educators and healthcare providers about the rapid increase in youth sports injuries, the necessary steps to help reverse the trend and the need to keep young athletes healthy. The initiative is being launched in April, Youth Sports Safety Month, to help raise awareness of the increase in sports injuries among young athletes.
According to the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), high school athletes, alone, account for an estimated two million injuries, 500,000 doctor visits and 30,000 hospitalizations every year. The high rate of youth sports injuries is fueled by an increase in overuse and trauma injuries and a lack of attention paid to proper injury prevention. According to the CDC, more than half of all sports injuries in children are preventable.
Concerned by the increase in sports injuries in Southwest Florida, members of Lee County Injury Prevention Coalition are meeting with local schools, sports leagues and coaches to discuss proper prevention techniques, as well as the need for open communication between everyone involved in young athletes’ lives.
Injury Prevention Educator/Analyst Mark Tesoro with Trauma Services at Lee Memorial Health System recently spoke to about 100 coaches with a soccer league in Cape Coral, as well as to more than 300 students at a Fort Myers school.
“I heard many stories from coaches who shared that they had personally suffered head injuries when they were young as well, and they remember feeling cognitively impaired,” said Tesoro. “They promised me they would not to do that to their kids, so it was a very motivating experience.”
Many of the top leading sports medicine organizations including the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Medical Society for Sports Medicine, National Athletic Trainers’ Association, National Strength and Conditioning Association and Safe Kids USA have partnered to promote the STOP Sports Injuries campaign.
Supporting the STOP Sports Injuries campaign are the country’s leading sports medicine organizations along with professional athletes and business leaders who have signed on as members of the campaign’s Council of Champions. This Council will help raise additional awareness about this growing epidemic of youth sports injuries. Some of the founding members of the Council include former Olympic champions Christie Rampone, Eric Heiden and Bonnie Blair, professional golfer Jack Nicklaus, NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Bart Starr, MLB baseball player John Smoltz, NFL Hall of Fame defensive end, Howie Long, and Heisman Trophy winner and St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford.
The Lee County Injury Prevention Coalition has been working to prevent injuries in Lee County since 1995 under the auspices of the Lee County Health Department. Today the group is composed of more than 80 different health and safety agencies and experts. The coalition is a multi-disciplinary cooperative of private and public partners that include emergency medical services, fire and rescue agencies, law enforcement agencies, hospital outreach programs, health agencies, and public and private schools. This strong partnership provides increased resources, efficiency and consistent delivery of unified safety messages to the public. For more information, visit http://leecountyinjuryprevention.org/.