Youth Sports Prevention Month
Participation in sports offers tremendous social, emotional, and physical benefits for children. We know that one of the worst things for kids is being on the sidelines with an injury. As parents and coaches, there are a few simple things we can do to help reduce preventable injuries – so our kids can continue playing the games they love. In 2013, more than 1.25 million children ages nineteen and under were seen in emergency departments for injuries rate to commonly played sports.
• Before playing organized sports, make sure your child receives a pre-participation physical, performed by a physician that includes a complete medical history.
• Encourage children to drink water before, during and after athletic activities or play. Bring a water bottle to practice.
• Stretching before practice and games can release muscle tension and help prevent sports-related injuries, such as muscle tears and sprains. Make sure enough time is set aside to warm-up properly.
• Take time of from one sport to prevent overuse injuries. Make rest a priority, athletes should take at least one or two days off each week from any one sport.
• It is also an innovative idea for coaches to get certified in first aid and CPR, learn the signs of concussion, and help avoid overuse injury by resting players during practice and games. Concussion – any athlete with a suspected concussion must be removed from play until evaluated and cleared by a medical professional. A good rule of thumb: “when in doubt, sit them out”. Forty-seven percent of all sports related concussions occur in young athletes between the ages of 12-15. The younger the child the longer it will take to recover from the concussion.
• Be a supportive parent – Attend a sports safety clinic, such as the one provided by SafeKids across the United State. These clinics provide coaches and parents with ways to keep young athletes healthy and injury free.
• Wear appropriate sports gear that fits properly to prevent or reduce the severity of injuries.
• Appropriate protective equipment may be effective at preventing specific injuries with proper use. Follow these recommendations to make sure your child has the correct protective equipment to reduce the risk of these types of injuries while playing sports:
Ankle brace – Ankle injuries
Helmets – Head injuries
Mouthguards – Injuries to the mouth and teeth
Orthotics – Lower leg/foot injuries
Protective eyewear – Eye injuries for sports with projectiles or sticks
Wrist Guards – Wrist injuries
Remember your child and their teammates should always follow the rules of their sport in practice and during games. It is important for the coaching staff to enforce those rules and always teach proper fundamentals of the game.
Prevent Child Injury
American Safety and Health Institute
STOP Sports Trauma and Overuse Prevention
CDC – Heads Up Program