PORTLAND -- Fall is a busy time of year in the emergency room at Portland’s Randall Children’s Hospital.
“We transition from summertime injuries at parks and camps to children getting hurt in fall sports,” said Emergency Room Medical Director Dr. Opher Nadler.
Fractures are among the most common injuries with the forearm most often hurt followed by the collarbone and ankle, Nadler explained.
“Some require surgery and several weeks in a cast,” he said.
Fifth-grader Levi Margolis fractured his lower leg on the football field.
“It’s a bummer because it’s my favorite sport. I’ll give anything to get back to it next year,” he said.
He remembers the pain as the worst in his life and knew it was broken by how it looked, “I could see the bone was out of place,” Levi recalled.
Even more common than fractures are the injuries children get on the soccer or football field, when they are hit in the head. “In the past few years, as awareness has grown, we’ve seen a lot of head injuries and concussions,” said Nadler.
He reminds parents only 10 per cent of players who get a concussion are knocked unconscious and symptoms may not develop for 30 minutes or even a few days. He said parents should watch for a child’s complaints about headaches, loss of memory or trouble concentrating.
“It’s important to remember this is an injury to the brain,” cautioned Nadler.
Coaches, he said, should be trained in concussion awareness. “We know the standard is no practice until a child is symptom free and a player can’t come back without a doctor’s note clearing him,” said Coach Fred Paris of Lincoln Youth Football.
Some players are allowed to return to the field with padded casts but they, too must have a doctor’s note.
Others like Levi will have to settle for looking forward to next Fall, “Some kids think being on crutches is fun. It’s actually not much fun at all,” he concluded.