Kids are often reluctant to tell their parents and coaches that they are hurting. They don’t want to let them or their teammates down. They also tend to blame themselves more if their teams lose than older athletes do. So they often play through pain.
It is important that we better recognize when young athletes have pain in sports, but we also need to take it seriously.
Overuse injuries make up a large percentage of injuries in youth sports. Most of them start as discomfort with sports that resolve with rest. As they get worse, pain comes on sooner and takes longer to go away. Ultimately serious injuries can develop, leading to months of missed playing time and possibly surgery.
If parents respond to the pain differently early on, you could avoid a serious injury later. Instead of pressuring the child to push through the pain in order to play, you might give him a few days off to rest and recover. If the pain doesn’t improve, going to a sports medicine doctor can help find the cause and better plan treatment options.