Pediatric sports injuries rising

SAN FRANCISCO – Every year, 1.5 million children go down with a serious sports injury. 

Kids as young as 8 now have ACL tears and major league-level shoulder injuries like Tommy John. 

Being stuck on the sidelines is excruciating. Just ask sisters Gina and Anna Trent. 

The game they love to play, soccer, is out of reach now because they suffered the type of injury usually suffered by adults. 

"I planted and then I twisted my knee and then I tore my ACL," Anna said.

"Once they found out I tore my ACL, we planned to have surgery the same day," Gina said. 

Many kids are just playing one sport, hoping that sole focus will pay off big. The downside to that gamble is serious injuries.

"You experience concussions, hurt knees, and scrapes and bruises all over the body. It is a pretty rough sport," said Mary Trent, Anna and Gina's mom.  

Dr. Nirav Pandya, of UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital, and his research team decided to look for the answer to so many injuries in kids. 

"We looked at first-round NBA draft picks and saw how many of them played single sports in high school versus multiple sports and how did that impact their career. What we actually found was the NBA players who played multiple sports, played in more games, were less likely to be injured," Pandya said.  

Playing different sports allows the body to use and stress different muscles and ligaments, not overusing and straining the same groups of muscles used in a single sport.  

"You're gonna do better in your sport if you're playing multiple sports, and you're less likely to be in my office because you've been injured," Pandya said. 

He advises waiting until your child is at least 14 before focusing on just one sport.