Participating in a sport not only improves a child’s physical health, but it can also help them develop positive self-esteem. According to Stanford Children’s Health, there are about 30 million children and teens in the U.S. who participate in an organized sport.

With about 3.5 million sports injuries per year, do you know which require a visit to the emergency room? In many cases, a trip to an urgent care will suffice for your kid’s sports injury.

Types of Sports Injuries

sports injury

Acute injuries are caused by sudden trauma. The most common type of sudden trauma is a collision. This can result from colliding with other players or objects resulting in sudden impact and potentially forced twisting. A few examples of acute injuries that are a result of sudden trauma are bruising, sprains, strains, and fractures.

Sprains and strains are the most common sports injuries. It is important to see a provider when home treatment methods like rest, ice, compression, and elevation do not help. Symptoms include: pain, swelling, bruising, spasm, instability, and numbness, according to

Many bruises, cuts, and scrapes can be treated at home with cleaning and bandaging. If the cut is deep, it is a good idea to see a provider to find out if stitches are required.

If you believe your child has suffered a fracture, it is important to see a provider to determine if a bone is broken. Advanced Urgent Care & Occupational Medicine has onsite x-ray machines. A dislocation, such as a shoulder dislocation, will also need medical treatment. A provider will be able to put the shoulder back in place.

Overuse injuries occur gradually. They often occur when an activity or specific move is repeated frequently and the body does not have enough time to heal. Overuse injuries can affect ligaments, tendons, bones, growth plates, and muscles. Stress fractures are a very common type of overuse injury.

Catastrophic injuries are incredibly severe and include serious fractures, head and spinal damage, heat stroke due to exercise, and sudden cardiac events.

Concussions are mild traumatic brain injuries. They are caused by a blow to the head or body that results in the brain moving back and forth rapidly inside the skull. This sudden movement can cause the brain to bounce around or twist in the skull, creating chemical changes in the brain and sometimes stretching and damaging brain cells.

Growth plates are the last portion of the bones to harden, so they are vulnerable to fracture. Injuries to the growth plates can result in disturbances in bone growth and even bone deformity.

When Should Your Child Go to the Doctor for a Sports Injury?

Your child should see a provider when:

  • They can’t fully move a joint, arm, or leg
  • Their pain interferes with daily activity or sleep
  • Their pain does not go away
  • They experience back or neck pain. It is especially important to see a provider if they experience weakness, numbness, or pain that shoots down their leg
  • There is joint swelling, instability, or locking


To prevent injury, make sure your athlete undergoes proper training and conditioning, especially before the season starts. In addition, it is important that your athlete wears appropriate, properly-fitted equipment for their sport.

Other measures that can be taken to prevent injury are having your athlete avoid practicing and playing in high heat. Ensure they are staying hydrated and taking regular breaks. Encourage good sportsmanship, following the rules, and emphasize how important it is for them to not play through the pain. Instead, have them inform an adult, official, or medical provider that they are injured so they can be treated promptly.

See a Provider After Hours and on the Weekend

Advanced Urgent Care & Occupational Medicine is open 7 days a week. This is especially convenient when practice and games are after 5 pm or on the weekends when your primary care physician’s office is closed.

With onsite x-ray and providers who are trained to treat all ages, we are here for you and your family. Schedule a visit or walk-in today at one of our locations across the Denver metro area.