Preventing Sports Injuries
You can help prevent your child from being injured by following some simple guidelines:
Use of Proper Equipment
It’s important for kids to use proper equipment and safety gear that is the correct size and fits well. For example, kids should wear helmets for baseball, softball, bicycle riding, and hockey. They also should wear helmets while they’re in-line skating or riding scooters and skateboards.
For racquet sports and basketball, ask about any protective eyewear, like shatterproof goggles. Ask your child’s coach about the appropriate helmets, shoes, mouth guards, athletic cups and supporters, and padding.
Protective equipment should be approved by the organizations that govern each of the sports. Hockey face masks, for example, should be approved by the Hockey Equipment Certification Council (HECC) or the Canadian Standards Association (CSA). Bicycle helmets should have a safety certification sticker from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Also, all equipment should be properly maintained to ensure its effectiveness.
Maintenance and Appropriateness of Playing Surfaces
Check that playing fields are not full of holes and ruts that might cause kids to fall or trip. Kids doing high-impact sports, like basketball and running, should do them on surfaces like tracks and wooden basketball courts, which can be more forgiving than surfaces like concrete.
Adequate Adult Supervision and Commitment to Safety
Any team sport or activity that kids participate in should be supervised by qualified adults. Select leagues and teams that have the same commitment to safety and injury prevention that you do.
The team coach should have training in first aid and CPR, and the coach’s philosophy should promote players’ well-being. A coach with a win-at-all-costs attitude may encourage kids to play through injury and may not foster good sportsmanship. Be sure that the coach enforces playing rules and requires that safety equipment be used at all times.
Additionally, make sure your kids are matched for sports according to their skill level, size, and physical and emotional maturity.
Just as you wouldn’t send a child who can’t swim to a swimming pool, it’s important not to send kids to play a sport that they’re unprepared to play. Make sure that your child knows how to play the sport before going out on the field.
Your child should be adequately prepared with warm-ups and training sessions before practices as well as before games. This will help ensure that your child has fun and reduce the chances of an injury.
In addition, your child should drink plenty of fluids and be allowed to rest during practices and games.