Season 2: Episode 10

Hope and Will: A Parenting Podcast from Children's Healthcare of Atlanta

How to Avoid Sports Injuries in Kids and Teens

Every time an athlete heads out to a practice or a game, there’s risk for injury. As kids play more frequently and advance to more competitive teams, that risk increases.

From tee-ball to varsity football, from ballet to tennis doubles, the good news is that no matter the age of your child or their preferred sport, there are lots of things you can do to help prevent injuries.

In this episode, we open with the personal story of a stand-out high school athlete who was sidelined not once but twice by an ACL tear. We also hear from her pediatric orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Crystal Perkins, who serves as Medical Director of Orthopedic Quality and Outcomes at Children’s. An athlete herself, Dr. Perkins knows what it’s like to be taken out of the game you love and why it’s so important to do everything possible to prevent injury.

Dr. Perkins tackles parents’ frequently asked questions, such as:

  • Should kids specialize in a single sport early on to increase chances for playing at a collegiate level?
  • What are the most common injuries we see in kids?
  • Are athletes in certain sports more prone to injuries?
  • Do some conditions affect girls more than boys and vice versa?
  • How important is rest?

Listeners will leave the episode with increased understanding of the most common risks associated with each sport. You’ll also learn why a pediatric sports medicine program dedicated to growing athletes gives your child the best chance at full recovery should the unfortunate happen.

Originally Aired: March 11, 2024

Maddie Massey, Two-Time ACL Tear Athlete, and Her Father, David

A stand-out, multisport athlete at her high school, Maddie tore her left knee ACL in October 2021. The injury occurred while playing flag football during the off-season for her main sports, softball and soccer. After successful surgery, she spent months preparing to return to the field—before tearing the ACL in the right knee almost exactly one year later. Maddie shares candid insight into the physical and mental burdens caused by sports injuries, as well as tips for fellow athletes to make it through the challenges of recovery.

Crystal Perkins, MD, Pediatric Orthopedic Surgeon and Medical Director of Orthopedic Quality and Outcomes at Children’s

Dr. Crystal Perkins specializes in the treatment of sports and traumatic injuries in children, adolescents and young adults, including injuries related to the hip, knee, ankle, shoulder and elbow. A former teen athlete herself, Dr. Perkins is still an avid athlete and often competes in triathlons. She understands the drive our patients have to get back to their sport and how important sports are to them—both mentally and physically.

Lynn Smith

Lynn Smith is a veteran journalist, podcast host and mom of two boys. Her experience as the parent of a patient at Children’s inspired her to advocate for spreading awareness of childhood illnesses and injuries.