According to a paper by Malachy McHugh from the Nicholas Institute of Sports Medicine and Athletic Trauma, Lenox Hill Hospital, US, published in the latest issue of the British Journal of Sports Medicine, overweight and obese adolescents are more than twice as likely to be injured in sports and other physical activities compared with non-overweight and non-obese adolescents. Moreover, obese adolescent athletes are more than three times as likely to sustain an ankle sprain compared with normal weight adolescent athletes.
The increased risk of injury associated with being overweight or obese may in part be due to low physical activity levels and therefore promotion of physical activity for children can provide neuromuscular training that may be beneficial in decreasing injury risk associated with general play and sports. In addition, specific neuromuscular training interventions, such as balance training, may also help reduce the risk of injury associated with overweight and obesity.
Importantly, injured overweight young athletes tend to have more prolonged recovery periods than non-overweight young athletes.
According to McHugh, early aggressive treatment of swelling with physical modalities, prolonged non-weight bearing, limited period of immobilization, and regular repetitive passive joint motion are all indicated for the overweight young athlete with a lower extremity joint injury.