Regardless of whether it is soccer, basketball, softball, baseball, wrestling, football, or a different sport, your child playing a sport – or just doing something that gets him or her physically active – can be integral to their well-being. Sports can provide children with a healthy outlet that not only keeps them physically fit, but one that also builds camaraderie and elevates their mood. Further, studies show that sports can help children who suffer from depression. It is no wonder millions and millions of youth all over the United States participate in sports each year. The benefits of sports, however, come with the risk of being injured.
While sprains and strains are the most common sports-related injuries, other severe injuries like spinal cord injuries, broken bones, and brain injuries can easily be sustained as well, especially if your child is playing a contact sport since sports that involve contact and collisions are where the highest rates of injury occur. Each day in the United States, approximately 8,000 children are treated in emergency rooms for sports-related injuries. That statistic translates to roughly 2,920,000 children a year. Despite the potential grim outcomes and alarming statistics out there, it is paramount that children get to be physically active and partake in sports, so the question is: How do we keep our children safe while they play sports?Tips for Keeping Your Child and Teenage Athletes Safe
Even though there is no foolproof way to prevent your child from becoming injured while playing a sport, you can greatly reduce the chances of them getting hurt by following a few safety tips.
- Make sure your child is wearing appropriate protective equipment. Additionally, the same equipment needs to be in good condition and fit your child well in order to provide them with the necessary protection. When it comes to contact sports in particular, the importance of protective equipment cannot be stressed enough – especially when it comes to a child’s head. During 2001-2009, an estimated 2,651,581 children ages 19 and younger were treated annually for sports and recreation-related injuries; approximately 6.5 percent, or 173,285 of those injuries, were traumatic brain injuries. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website contains useful and practical information regarding brain injury safety tips and prevention.
- Stretch, stretch, stretch! Have your child stretch before engaging in a sport. This increases their flexibility and can reduce their likelihood of sustaining injuries.
- Follow the rules and play safe. Many rules in sports are put in place to keep participants safe, so it is best to abide by them. Discuss the rules and the importance of playing safe with your child.
- If your child is in pain, seek appropriate medical attention. Some children will get hurt but continue playing. This can potentially make an existing injury even worse, so it is best to make sure that your child knows to call it day if they are experiencing pain. Parents should also be on the lookout for visible signs of injury, grimacing, or pain, and be prepared to help the child obtain any needed treatment from a medical professional.
Injuries can happen when you least expect them and regardless of the safety precautions in place, but without safety precautions, children are much more susceptible to being injured. No matter the sport, it is important for children to always play safe, so they can play another day.