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Injuries are, without a doubt, part of the game. However, as parents, we do have a responsibility to provide our children with the best chance of staying healthy. Avoiding sports-related injuries is an endeavor that requires a total team effort. From using a microwave heating pad to treat aggravated muscles to warming up and cooling down during training, there are multitude of ways to reduce the threat injury.
In coordination with this effort, use the following information as a guide towards injury prevention for the youth:
Make sure your child is healthy enough to play sports
Sports are a fantastic way to build confidence and encourage social engagement; however, making sure your child receives a comprehensive pre-participation physical exam (PPE) should be the first thing you should consider doing. Once cleared, provide your son or daughter’s coach with the easiest way to contact you as well as being sure you get their contact information.
If any pre-existing conditions exist, be sure to inform their coach. Some medical conditions, such as asthma, require special attention—so make it a priority to not only notify but also educate their coach as to what to during an emergency.
What they should always do before and after playing sports
Every practice or game should begin with a proper warm up to get the blood flowing and muscles loose, and should end with a proper cool down to gently reduce the heart rate and avoid dizziness. Your little athlete should dedicate 10 minutes for both of these activities.
Furthermore, stretching before and after games is also imperative, as this prepares the body for physical exertion.
Hydrate, play, and hydrate
To avoid heat-related illness, such as hydration, children should have immediate access to plenty of fluids when needed. Heat injuries are particularly scary as they can be potentially fatal. It’s also important to note that children are more prone to endure a heat-related illness than an adult as they perspire less, which affects the body’s ability to naturally cool down.
The importance of properly worn sports gear
Make sure your athlete is equipped with not only the proper sports gear relevant to the actual sport, but making sure that it fits properly. This includes, but is not limited to: helmets, mouth guards, shin guards, ankle braces, shoes with rubber-bottoms and plenty of sunscreen.
If your child has possibly endured a brain injury, be aware of the tall tale signs, such as:
- “Pressure” of the head
- Difficulty with balance
- Sensitivity to light and/or noise
- Confusion and/or slurred speech
- Difficulty concentration, or simply not feeling right
What can you do to help avoid a concussion
Encourage your child that they carefully follow the instructions of the coach and comprehensively understand the rules and safety guidelines of the game; additionally, teaching them how to properly wear protective gear if equipment for head-protection is needed. And lastly, making sure your child is comfortable with alerting their coach that they don’t feel right.
To play or not to play?
Many parents nowadays are forced with an important question: should I let my son or daughter play youth sports? With the news dominated by new information about long term sports injuries, it’s a question more and more parents are considering.
Choose a safe sport: Non contact sports are best for developing bodies. If you aren’t comfortable with your child playing football or even soccer, there are lots of other options that are safe. Sports like tennis offer the same excellent health benefits that other sports do, but with less risk of serious injury.
All kids should play sports, but not all kids should play all sports. Consider talking to your family physician for his or her opinion on what sports your child should play, so you can have a more thorough answer. Regardless, make sure your child is getting exercise everyday, and that accidents do happen on occasion; but you can make sure those accidents don’t turn into something serious.