ACL tears happen suddenly, almost without fail, each high school sports season. A teenager jumps or pivots fast to get the ball. The teen may feel a pop in the knee, but usually can walk off the field. Within 24 to 48 hours the teen’s knee is severely swollen.
And if your teenage athlete is a girl, her risk of tearing the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is four to six times greater than a boy’s. Why? “That’s the hot question right now,” says Sally Harris, M.D., a pediatric sports medicine doctor at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation. At first, researchers thought hormones and girls’ body structure increased their risk. But studies now indicate those are minor points. More likely, Dr. Harris says, girls are at greater risk for ACL tears because of two factors, both preventable:
Ads for energy drinks are plastered on the walls of sporting events and on the jerseys of leading athletes. The beverage makers sponsor models, music events and videos games. Red Bull, the market’s leading drink, even has its own TV series and printed magazine. They claim to boost your immune system, enhance your performance, and help you stay up longer.
No wonder 30 to 50 percent of adolescents and young adults say they buy energy drinks. But are they safe for young people to drink?
“No,” says Stephanie Nguyen Lai, M.D., a pediatrician at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation. Energy drinks are loaded with caffeine – often twice as much as coffee and eight times as much as a soda. They’re especially dangerous when mixed with alcohol.
“As a parent, it is important to talk with your adolescent, and explain the risks of these products,” Dr. Lai says. “Their health could be at stake.”
Hidden Caffeine in Energy Drinks Read More about The Risks of Energy Drinks
Acne: it’s caused stress before many a first date and sent teens scurrying to the drug store for the latest miracle potion. If your teen has acne, he or she is not alone.
“Approximately 85 percent of all teens have acne at some point,” says Amy E. Gilliam, M.D., a pediatric dermatologist at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation. “Although there is no magic bullet or quick fix for teen acne, there are several effective treatment options that – with patience – can help clear up this skin condition.” Read More about What Teens Can Do About Acne
Most parents know that an active child is a healthy child – but what about the inevitable injuries if they play sports? Sally Harris, M.D., MPH, a specialist in pediatric and adolescent sports medicine at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, says the most common serious sports-related injury for young children (prior to puberty) is a broken bone, also called a fracture. Before reaching puberty, children’s flexible bones are their most vulnerable points as cartilage is still filling in and the ends of the bones are weaker and softer to allow for growth. See Dr. Harris’s answers to common questions from parents about fractures and other sports injuries in kids. Read More about Sports Injuries in Kids: What Parents Need to Know
Going to college can be an exciting and stressful time for teens. In college, they’ll face many new responsibilities along with sudden independence. They may have a roommate for the first time in their lives, and lose privacy they value. They can study all night – or party all night – without anyone suggesting they slow down.
Help your teen prepare. Print these tips and tuck them in your teen’s suitcase – or email this blog post – to share gentle reminders on how to keep college life in balance.
Six Life-Balance Tips for College Students Read More about Tips for Teens Heading to College
While cell phones, iPads and computers provide great ways to stay connected and informed, they can also limit quality time between teens and parents. Nancy L. Brown, Ph.D., who leads the Adolescent Interest Group for PAMF’s teen and preteen websites, and Surya Brown-Moffitt, Brown’s daughter and a high school student writer, offer these tips for parents to manage the digital distractions in their families’ lives.
Parents need to model the behavior they want their teens to follow. So make a conscious choice about when to be on the phone or a laptop at home. This way you won’t miss opportunities to connect with your child and you’ll also demonstrate appropriate media use. Talk to your teen about the trade-offs: Time on the phone, tablet or computer limits the time he or she has for family and friends, exercise, homework and hobbies. Also, set limits upfront on the time you’ll both spend using technology to ensure you don’t get digitally distracted.
Think of this as an opportunity to come together as a family and build and model relationships that are thoughtful and caring. You’ll also be teaching your teen that getting the most out of technology also means learning when to turn it off. Read More about Tips to Help Families Manage Digital Distraction