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Springing into Sports
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As hard as it is to believe with last week’s snow storm, spring is just around the corner. That means kids will be breaking free of the indoors for some much needed sunshine and fresh air. With the beginning of spring comes the start of soccer, softball, lacrosse and other sports seasons. Kids will also be spending an increasing amount of time riding bikes and playing other games with their friends.
Playing sports and being physically active is vital to a child’s health; however, there are many risks associated with these activities. Cuts and bruises are a part of life, but it is important to prevent more harmful injuries such as broken bones and concussions. To keep your kids off the bench and in the game, make sure to review the following sports-related injury information.
- 1 in 3 children who play on a sports team are injured to the point of missing practice and games each year.
- 62% of sports injuries occur during practices rather than games.
- The most common injuries seen by doctors related to sports are sprains, bone or growth plate injuries, repetitive motion injuries and heat related illnesses.
- In 2011, there were 1,289,508 sports-related injuries treated by physicians, with over 79% of the injuries caused by football, basketball, soccer, and baseball combined.
Prepare Kids for the Demands of Playing a Sport
- Before playing organized sports, make sure your child receives a pre-participation physical exam, or PPE, by a doctor. This can help rule out any potential medical conditions that may place your young athlete at risk.
Warm Up and Stretch
- Stretching before any physical activity can reduce muscle tension and prevent any muscle tears or sprains.
- Kids should begin with 10 minutes of light activity before any rigorous activity.
- Stretching, especially of all major muscle groups used for a particular sport, should be made a priority.
The Importance of Hydration
- Encourage children to hydrate before, during, and at play.
- Ensure that coaches incorporate mandatory water breaks.
- Learn to recognize the symptoms of dehydration, which include muscle cramping, dizziness, emotional instability, and high body temperature.
Rest, Rest, Rest
- Make sure all players rest during practices and games to avoid an overuse injury.
- Kids should be off at least one or two days a week from any one sport.
- There should be at least 10 consecutive weeks off from one sport every year, but may play different sports throughout this time.
- Encourage players to communicate any pain, injury or illness they may have during or after any practices or games. Make sure they know it’s smart to tell coaches, parents or another adult if they’re hurt or not feeling well.
Don’t Overlook a Concussion
- Concussions can occur without a loss of consciousness.
- Check with coaches about your child’s league’s concussion policies to ensure that they are taken seriously.
- Learn the signs and symptoms of a concussion. This information is important for coaches, parents and athletes.
- A player with a suspected concussion must be immediately sidelined until evaluated and released by a medical professional. The important thing is to protect players who have had a concussion from getting another one.
- Remember, “When in Doubt, Sit Them Out” and seek medical advice to prevent long-term damage to the brain.
For more information on sports safety and concussions, please visit: