The school year is back in session and fall sports are about to begin. Children and teens should be careful when participating in physically demanding sports to avoid common and serious harm. Be proactive to prevent injuries and physical strain with these 8 safety tips.
#1 Be Prepared
At the start of the season, a pre-participation physical exam is required. This exam will provide information you will need to make the coaches aware of; like asthma for example. It is also common practice to fill out a form for coaches to reference in case of an emergency. These forms usually cover medical history, emergency contact information, and doctor information. Be comprehensive when filling out this form. It will be essential in the case of an emergency.
#2 Wear Appropriate Gear
Some fall sports like football require a lot of gear. It’s crucial that all the necessary gear be worn when needed. Check-in with your athlete to make sure their safety gear is fitting appropriately and that it’s in good shape. Worn down or damaged gear will be less effective.
#3 Always Warm Up & Stretch
Never underestimate the power stretching has in preventing injuries. Always warm up with stretching to increase blood flow, reduce stiffness, and improve motion in the joints. Releasing muscle tension keeps the body from overexerting easily and reduces bodily strain keeping injuries at bay. Also stretching after a practice or game is important to reduce muscle soreness and tension.
Overuse plays a big role in many sports injuries. Make sure appropriate breaks are being taken during practices. And that days off are being implemented. Athletes should take one to two days off each week. Sleep is also very important. Check out our sleep schedule blog to learn about the benefits.
#5 Know the Signs of a Concussion
Concussions are nothing to play with. If your child participates in a sport that requires a helmet make sure it’s the appropriate helmet for that sport and that it fits properly before beginning. Helmets are crucial for a variety of activities for a reason. If you’re unsure that your athlete is suffering from a concussion, a good rule of thumb is: when in doubt, sit them out. It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to concussions.
Dehydration and other heat-related illnesses are common problems in sports. Be sure to send your athlete to practice and games with a water bottle and encourage them to use it frequently. Athletes should drink fluids 30 minutes before activity begins and every 15-20 minutes during activity.
#7 Know the Rules
There are many rules in place that protect players rather than dictate the game. For example, in baseball and softball, there’s a rule that those at bat cannot fling their bats after a hit. This is to prevent those nearby from being hit and potentially injured. Make sure your athlete is aware of the rules that keep them and other players safe.
#8 Do Not Play When Injured
If your athlete loves their sport, it can be tempting to jump back in even when they’re hurt. But getting back into the game before an injury can heal is a bad idea. It can lead to an even worse injury that keeps your athlete from playing for an even longer time. Encourage them to be honest with you and their coaches if they’re in pain. And make sure they see a doctor for injuries when necessary, and follow their advice about how and when to return to practice and play.
Sources: Safe Kids Wordwide, Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, Very Well Family, Nemours Kids Health.