Local therapist works to prevent sports injuries, 'keep kids in the game for life'

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News 12 First at Five / Friday, March 29, 2013

EVANS, Ga. (WRDW) -- Sports injuries affect millions of kids every year, and according to the CDC, more than half of them are preventable.

A local group is working to make sure those that can be prevented are prevented. More than 3.5 million kids receive medical treatment for sports injuries every year and that's something the group says more people need to know.

"It's just fun to be out there play and have fun with your friends," said 5th grader Drew Proctor about his baseball team. "It's not easy sitting on the bench and doing nothing. You feel useless."

For one month, Drew had to sit on the bench.

"I hurt my elbow because I was overusing it and I was putting too much strain when I was throwing," he explained.

It had been hurting for a while, but Drew played through it.

"Sometimes I'd take some pain medicine if we only had nine players because one got hurt or sick then I'd play, but after a certain amount of time, it started gradually getting worse and worse and then I told somebody," Drew said.

Playing through injuries is a common practice for many kids.

"I just like playing so much it's hard being out sitting on the bench watching," said team member Grant Fuller.

"I took it easy but not as much as I was supposed to," added team member John Damelio about his injury. "I just wanted to be out there on the field."

Overuse injuries are becoming more and more common. Statistics show they're responsible for nearly half of all sports injuries in middle and high school students.

"Sports in general, they're rough, and these kids try hard and it's the fact that they're giving everything they can to do the best on every play and with that comes injuries," said one of their coaches, Todd Fuller.

One of the team member's mothers, Carrie Boan, is a pediatric therapist and sees it all the time.

"I was reading their charts and they had pain for two years, three years, and they're just now coming in for therapy," she explained about the cases she'd seen.

Now she's working to educate the public with a Stop Sports Injuries event called "Keeping Kids in the Game for Life."

"Worst case scenario is our best friend's daughter having surgery on her growth plate at 10 years old," Boan said. "Ten years old and she's not to do dance, cheer or gymnastics anymore."

In the last decade, doctors have seen five times the number of serious shoulder and elbow injuries among youth baseball and softball players.

On Saturday, the Martinez-Evans Little League is holding an event with Pediatric Therapy of Aiken. They will talk about preventing injuries and working your way back from an injury. The event is from 10 a.m. to noon at Evans Middle School. Speakers include a former Atlanta Braves player who's dealt with sports injuries his whole life.

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