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injuries

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Panda-girl's Mom

Active Member
Jan 9, 2008
781
As a parent does it ever concern you how many injuries kids get in this sport. Do you ever feel like maybe should just pull your kids out of this sport. I have just noticed how many girls on my daughters team have had injuries this year. It is mainly the more advanced levels but it seems like alot of them have had injuries. They seem to be not just injuries from falls but from chronic overuse. It seems very discouraging because they reach a certain level then they have to miss meets then do not move up. I do believe that my daughters gym practices around the same amout of hours most gyms do and they do alot of conditioning so I do not believe it is the way they are training. Maybe other sports have the same issues but I am not sure. By the way if I decided to make my daughter quit I think she would disown me!!!!
 

gymjourneymom

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Mar 9, 2008
1,331
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USA
I have this same thought everyday & I have had it everyday since DD started on preteam. She's now L7!!! I pray everyday that she will walk away from this sport physically intact. She has been very lucky compared to most...but I'm so afraid one day her luck will run out :(. She struggles with fear issues on bigger skills...I never push her. In fact I feel guilty I may have caused her fears by telling her to, "Have fun, but becareful" so often when she was 1st starting, LOL! It's my fear that if I pushed her too hard & she got hurt doing a skill, I could never forgive myself. Right now she is doing track along with gymnastics...I would love it if she would switch totally to track:eek:! But as it is for now...I drop her off at the gym...& hold my breath everytime the phone rings while she's there:worried:. One of the dad's of a L10 at our gym told me once..."it's not a matter of if they will get injured doing this sport...it's a matter of when & how severely". His DD was recovering from major knee surgery at the time. I'm liking track more & more every day!!!
 
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hunde2

Active Member
Nov 5, 2007
664
Same here.I sometimes have a hard time watching her in practice.Especially on bars and beam.So far she still enjoys herself and is going to a low pressure gym.Has had minor injuries.No broken bones.Although has a shoulder that bothers her from time to time.
Contact sports have a lot of injuries too.
 

Granny Smith

Active Member
Proud Parent
Jun 21, 2007
1,444
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Here's my take on dd, this sport and injuries. Just so you know where I am coming from, dd just finished competing level 8 and is now training level 9.

First, anybody that does a sport at the level that our dd's do gymnastics will sustain injuries. It happens and I hope and pray it is never nothing severe. But, I can say that dd has a nagging heel problem and also some wrist pain from vaulting. She has never had a broken bone or needed surgery for anything. She now wears wrist guards for vault and HC doesn't have her vault usually more than 5 vaults a day. Her wrist pain has subsided pretty much, when it does act up , we also do icing. Dd is young, she's 12, but her body is so much younger than her true age. She is no where near puberty, so we have to be very, very careful with those growth plates - the Yurchenko vault is no friend to a gymmie who fits dd's description. We know this and she still does the vault, but we take as many precautions as possible.

I also make sure that dd eats a high protein diet. This helps build muscle, but also very good for healing. When you have surgery, it is always recommended that you eat a high protein diet, because it aids in healing. Dd always eats something high in protein before practice (either salad or chicken with organic raw cheese - in the car on the way to the gym from school.) Then I also pack her a snack for at the gym, usually raw almonds, cashews, yogurt covered blueberries, goji berries, inca berries, sometimes organic chocolate covered mulberries. Stuff like that. This has helped increase her stamina and I do believe that it has helped make her stronger.

A common theme when you see some girls who are contantly hurt is what is their diet. Are they just eating junk? Maybe there bones are not as strong due to their diet. Nutrition is a very important piece of the puzzle. It is something that our gym really does focus on. We do have a nutritionist who comes in and meets with the girls. It is optional and it cost me more money, but I do believe it is worth it. These girls can eat basically anything they want and still be thin and somewhat fit, but what about when they are done the sport. Then what, I want my dd to know how to make good choices. What I also like about the classes is that I'm allowed to attend. Which makes sense considering I'm the one shopping and cooking right now.

Lastly, I will say with the sport of gymnastics the key to the sport is longevity. The girls are pushed so quickly, but to survive you have to somehow evade injury. I am doing everything in my power to keep dd from getting injured. I do this through diet and also communication with the coaches. There are certain skills that I will not allow my dd to do while she is still growing. Not to say she can't do the skills, but not until her growth plates have closed. I have already vetoed a certain skill for my dd in the gym and HC was receptive. She told me other girls were going to be doing the skill and that older girls have also done the skill and I just kindly said they are not my child and my child will not be doing it (until she is older and grown.)

I know that she will not totally escape injury, but I think I will be able to look back when she is older and know that I have done everything in my power to help her stay healthy. The rest is in God's hands... ;)
 
C

cher062

Guest
I think any sport a child does that is as competitive as being on a gymnastic team will have injuries. Let's face it not too many kids at the ages our kids are, are doing the type of training, conditioning and competition that a gymnast does. Most of the kids in my area are on Soccer teams, baseball teams, or Karate none of which does the level of practice and conditioning that we do. I don't think they get any more or less injuries then any other athlete practicing at the level our kids do. I do worry about it too but not doing gym for DD would be a punishment for her.

the girls in my DD's Girl Scout Troop have asked on several occasions during the Meet season why DD can't just miss a meet or practice and come to a GS fun event (we have missed some practices for some of these events). They compare it to them missing a soccer game not really a big deal. That was until we did a physical fitness and a career badge. We basically set up a birthday party type event but gave our gym the requirements they needed to complete instead of the fun and games they usually do. the B-days are usually done on Saturday afternoons when only the teams are in practicing. We had set up a team demonstration for the group. After that day they realized how hard this was and now knew why DD couldn't miss practice. It was an eye opening day for the girls and the parents.
 

Livinatthegym

Member
Feb 4, 2008
204
Region IV
Yes. I feel I should have pulled my dd1 instead of allowing her to continue into the optional levels. She competed through level 8, age 14. Hind sight is 20/20, but I should not have been concerned about how mad she would've been or how much she would've missed the gym. When she started experiencing the chronic pain, I should've stopped her and stood firm. I was the adult, but I let a child decide for herself what she wanted to do (against my better judgement). Shame on me.

Strangely enough, I wasn't concerned about a sudden injury (as opposed to the overuse injury). I felt like those could happen anywhere. Dd1 and dd2 both broke bones, but neither of those injuries had anything to do with gymnastics!
 

gym mom

Active Member
Sep 8, 2007
724
florida
Any kind of sports there is the issues of injuries.I do worry about overuse injuries and the skills that they perform in opt levels scare me very much ,but right now my dd is a new L5 so I will worry about opt. if and when she gets there.
 

ryantroop

Member
Sep 21, 2008
423
Illinois
While I am just now beginning to train younger athletes, I thought a coaches perspective might help... though I must point out - I am but one coach, with my own opinion that others MAY share.

I think injuries to young gymnasts (and older ones) come down to education - of coaches, gymnasts, and parents.

For a coach, knowing the fundamentals of the skills is never enough. We spend hours with our gymnasts, and it is our responsibility to know our gymnasts level of mental and physical growth. Is this totally feasable? Probably not - but with our experiences, we begin to see patterns in body types, aggressiveness, and confidence. I know I have learned so much in my short time of coaching about personality and training that I know what mistakes not to allow again.

However, it is also a gymnast's responsibility to know their own limits, and do what they find necessary to move past those limits. The whole process of development from younger age groups to optionals is about progression. As we know from students in schools, not all students learn the same thing from the same activity. They may get a peice of the puzzle, but only a handfull will get the whole picture - concepts need reinforcement, and alternate teaching methods. When a gymnast truly loves to be in the gym, they will go to open gyms and "play." It is here where most of the "learning" is accomplished - even if they are working on front flips as a class, feeling confident enough, spacially aware enough, and driven to accomplish the skill, is what will help keep them safe. The only way to do that is through experience, trial and error, and (sadly) a few knocks and bruises.

Parents, hopefully, will understand the concepts of progression as well, and know their children well enough not to put un-needed stressors on their children. We all want our kids to be safe, and we all want to make sure our kids are having fun. It is never a question of letting a child "make a choice" for us, but helping and guiding our children towards making the right choices for themselves. If there is ever a doubt about a skill or training in a gym, it is every parents right and responsibility to talk to a coach about it. If the answer is not satisfactory, the answer is not to yank the kid out of the gym - if the kid will miss the gym, do you think that is right? Why take away something that they love? The answer is making a choice that will help your child find happiness and safety - you can either request they do not work on the skill (as said above), or wait until they are ready, and if that does not work, or you cannot find a happy medium, there is always another gym.

There is a chance in any sport to have injury. It is the nature of the act of doing. You can be sleeping in bed and get just as badly hurt as in a gym. Sure, there is far more potential, but it is possible. The questions comes down to luck, preparation, and security.

I have, in a high school setting, been exposed to injuries from track (knee/ankle/heel/toe), football (acl/knees/ankeles/shoulders/kneck), wrestling (almost the same as football)... so many sports... even golf! Knee and back issues abound!! Sports are very essential for youths - it gives them a sense of belonging, a sense of purpose, and a place to alleviate frustration and learn life lessons. It is a social builder, a component to trouble shooting, and above all - it keeps them more healthy than sitting at home and doing nothing.

The only reason I would ever take a child out of a sport (gymnastics or otherwise) is if they do not like it. Not because it is hard, not because they aren't "getting it." But because they simply have no desire to be there. To me, that is how they are going to get hurt. When they stop caring, it's time to move on to something else that keeps them active and enjoying themselves. Gymnastics is not for everyone - but the exposure to it helps in so many ways. Learning to fall, learning to understand yourself and your surroundings and how you interact with your environment, and learning how to work through some of the hard parts of life, where you feel like giving up and need that extra push to keep going...

There is a difference between being hurt and being injured. Please don't confuse the two. If you havent noticed - I love coaching, and I really love gymnastics. I have taken my beatings to make sure my gymnasts are safe - but not all coaches are as big as I am, nor willing to take hit as I am. However, there are others like me, who are willing to do what it takes in their power to save a kid from getting hurt, and spend the time to learn to train them properly. We are out there, and Im sure there are many of us, and many of us on this forum.

Best wishes,


Ryan
 

Tim_Dad

Member
Nov 3, 2008
414
Region IV (Missouri)
As a parent does it ever concern you how many injuries kids get in this sport. Do you ever feel like maybe should just pull your kids out of this sport.


Well sure. I wouldn't consider myself a parent if I didn't have concerns about my DD's health and saftey. That's just natural.

But on the other hand, i do understand that as a parent, I must ALLOW my kids to push their own limits - even in the face of injury (physical or emotional). That's how some of us learn.

If your DD got a poor grade in math, would you pull her out of math class? Or get her the help she needs to succeed? Would you not allow a child to ride a bike without training wheels? Of course not. Skinned knees are part of the process / experience, and "protecting" her against that injury robs her of the opportunities of riding a bike, learning balance and coordiation, as well as the glory when she eventually 'get's it'. Some call it tough love. I call it common sense.

Think about it. Tell a child "don't touch the stove, or you will get burned." What eventually happens? They touch the stove, get burned, and result is they learn for themselves NOT to touch the stove. Sometimes those hard lessons are painful. But they are lessons that need to be learned dispite all our efforts to teach.

I recall telling my DD "No BHS at home...save that for gym". You know what I'm going to say next, so jumping to the conclusion -- she learned for herself why I said No. Will the lesson stick? It's doubtful. For Nastia, it requires mutiple learning experiences.

Knowing this, my rule for the house now is: "Don't get blood on my nice carpet!". It sounds pretty cruel, but in all honesty, she's the type that will learn more from her mistakes.. despite all mom & dad warnings and reminders.

And that's OK with me - because I was EXACTLY the same at her age. Heck, if the ER in my hometown had a "membership club", i'd be on the board of directors at the age of 12.

Now, as far as pulling her out of gym because of the level of injuries that occur? No, it's never crossed our minds.

Why? Kid's are resilient. Recovering from a physical injury is the easy part. Recovering from the mental injury (i.e. fear) takes more time, and coaching. If the child can recover from that, then they become stronger mentally in more ways then just gym. Just like falling off the bike. Hopefully - they learn from the experience. EVEN if that lesson is just sh*t happens...deal with it.

So now that the welfare of the child is out of the picture, The only reason left to pull her from the program is that the parent doesn't want to deal the anxiety of having a child in an activity in which they "may" get injured.

When you think about it, that's an awful selfish reason (excuse) to pull her out of something she loves. Don't ya think?

Anyway, you asked for honest opinions, so that's mine. HIH

I say, If we as parents really want to help her our are kids, we should make sure they eat enough of the right foods, and encourge them to condition and stretch more (even at home), and get plenty of rest. As parents of an athlete, these are the best ways in which we can forestall, and/or minimize injury. Leaving all the pain and the glory to them.
 
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bogwoppit

Former Admin
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Former Gymnast
Feb 26, 2007
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Canada
My oldest has had many injuries, though they all link back to her underlying scoliosis. I believe that gymnastics has helped her in so many ways, the conditioning supports her back and encourages flexibility. The preteen growth spurt has been brutal, she was a little thing until she turned ten and then has grown quite tall in two years. Lots of problems and lots of time out of gym. I am not sure that this would be tolerated in many clubs, but our HC had scoliosis as a gymnast and has made it clear that my DD will always have her place in the gym if she wants it.


I do not believe in letting her work through the pain, she is not in the gym right now and won't be going back until she can train with no pain. The more hours the gymmies train the more chances of injury, for my DD we cut back the hours.

We only have to look to the USA's Olympic team last year to see just how hard gymnastics is on a body. Also the requirment for gymnasts to be Eltie very young in order to be compatitive means very little girls are training very long hours. MAG gymnasts can move more slowly to become Elite.

When I bumped into the lovely Sam Shapiro at the Gymnix meet this year, she was limping, she still competed bars even though it was revealed later that she had broken her foot. She is one of many Elite gymmies that are always injured and are always recovering from an injury.

I think there is a lot of pressure in some clubs to train at all costs, and I wonder if it is worth it in the end.

Perhaps the system needs overhauling, but as long as the Olympics and Elite gym exists I imagine we will continue to see injured gymnasts at all levels.

I agree that kids can be hurt doing many things, but it is always good to limit the possibilities.
 
J

Janetgym

Guest
Granny Smith,

My mom was reading over my shoulders and she wants to know what skills you won't allow your daughter to do until she is finished growing.

Thank you.

Janetgym
 

Panda-girl's Mom

Active Member
Jan 9, 2008
781
Thanks for your replies, I think I am more worried about chronic injuries then just breaking bones. Alot of the girls get so tough that they hide their pain until one day they can not walk and alot of them need surgery. This just seems extreme to me for a sport and how many of them actually stay in the sport to compete in college. These things just concern me I had no idea about these things until my daughter started competeing. For now my daughter is only a level 5 so I will just wait and see far she goes with the sport or wants to quit but I still have concerns. I just do not want her to be a 30 year old who suffers from chronic pain. Grannysmith I would also like to know what skills you will not let your daughter do, it sounds like you are very knowledgable and on top of your daughters training and nutrition. Unfortunately my daughter loves junk food and I often have to argue with her to eat breakfeast in the morning before she goes to a 4 hour practice.
 

eeyoretumbles

Member
Jul 13, 2008
234
rainy washington
Like people have said, there is an injury in every sport. You have more of a chance in getting in a car accident every day in certain aspects, but you take risks. Conditioning is very good, but also try some physical therapy excercises. Have your kids practiced core? Core is an excercise you work in your back, and in PT you do it a lot. Conditioning definetely helps a lot, but if you are repeating the same excercises, you might be missing other aspects. When I got injured, I got sooo many excercises and used muscles I had never felt before. I'd recommendng looking up PT excercises too. And always drink lots of milk for calcium!
 

Granny Smith

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Proud Parent
Jun 21, 2007
1,444
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USA
The only skill right now that I have vetoed is the 1 handed BHS on beam. All of that pressure on 1 hand/wrist/growth plate to me is a no-no. Dd can do a BT on beam which is also a C skill, so if she needs a C skill do the BT (which she did in her 8 routine), not 1 handed BHS. It's not the skill itself that I don't want her doing, it's all the practice/repetitiveness on the 1 wrist that I don't want.

Quite honestly, she really doesn't have to do the skill. She can do a BHS-BHS series for 9, she was already doing it in 8. She is working her BHS-BLO series as her upgrade. She simply just doesn't need to do the 1 handed BHS skill.

The 1 handed BHS serves it's purpose for those who can't do BT or BLO, but in my dd's case it's not worth the risk to me and I've stated my case to the HC.

Granny Smith,

My mom was reading over my shoulders and she wants to know what skills you won't allow your daughter to do until she is finished growing.

Thank you.

Janetgym
 

Tim_Dad

Member
Nov 3, 2008
414
Region IV (Missouri)
Thanks for your replies, I think I am more worried about chronic injuries then just breaking bones.

Since everyones different... hard to say. For every one long-term injury, there could be 10,000 gymmies that a just fine. Sure it's a concern, but were parents. That's our job to worry. :)

A while ago I read that the REAL (although completely unofficial, and will always be denied by the authorities) reason UB were seperated as much as they are now was primarily due to many reports of long-term injuries to a females reproductive anatomy. All that hard banging into the low bar with the midsection apparently took it's toll.

Remember when gymmies could hang off the top bar, and rebound themselves off the lower bar mid-waist, back in the 60's and 70s. (Nadia era). Then early in the 80's, the bars moved out significantly to "allow for more advanced skills".

:cool: Highly suspect if you ask me.
Could it be that they moved them out to avoid massive lawsuites throughout the gymnastic community world-wide... and because of the move, the skills can't be anything BUT more advanced?

A vast low-bar conspriacy it is! :)
 
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