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Coaches blamed for sports injuries


Tuesday April 26th 2011

A sports injury expert has blamed the irresponsible behaviour of some coaches for a rise in injuries among young athletes.

Young people, particularly those under the age of 16, are being pushed "to the brink" by some coaches, according to Vel Sakthivel, a consultant orthopaedic surgeon at Southampton General Hospital.

With the London Olympics just around the corner, budding athletes could feel even more pressured to perform through the pain barrier, the expert warned.

He said: "We are seeing an increase in the number of sports injuries in children each year, ranging from serious ligament damage and fractures, to strains and sprains, and the pressure applied by coaches is to blame on many occasions.

"Kids are told if they want to make it big they need to put up with the aches, pain and niggling injuries - almost a 'toughen you up' culture - and that is driving many to the brink of serious damage to their bodies."

Mr Sakthivel claimed to have witnessed irresponsible behaviour by some coaches in his newly opened paediatric sports injury clinic at the hospital.

He explained: "I have encountered coaches who attend consultations with children and tell me injuries are not possible on equipment such as trampolines because they have a soft surface, and patients who come to me and say their coaches have urged them to continue despite complaints of pain."

The expert said he does not intend to discourage youngsters from taking part in sporting activity, but urged parents and children to be cautious and have realistic expectations.

Copyright © Press Association 2011

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