Youth Sports Safety Month

April 01, 2017

April is Youth Sports Safety Month! With millions of children and adolescents participating in youth sports, injury is inevitable. In fact, according to the CDC, over 2.5 million children under the age of 18 are treated in the emergency department each year for sports-related injuries.  With that being said, there are an array of injury prevention tips that can help prevent injury, keep young athletes safe, and allow them to enjoy the games they love.

Here are six tips all parents, coaches, and young athletes should follow:

1. Get a physical. Before taking part in organized sports, all athletes should have a pre-participation physical exam performed by a medical professional. This helps determine their readiness to play, and can uncover conditions that may place young athletes at risk. Without a proper physical exam, these conditions can go unnoticed.
2.  Beat the heat and hydrate. Athletes should gradually acclimate themselves to warmer weather to help prevent heat-related injury or illness. Hydration is also an important component to safe athletics. Be sure to encourage proper hydration before, during, and after practice and games.
3. Warm up and cool down. Ensure that there is time set aside before and after practice and games for athletes to warm up and cool down properly.
4. Use proper equipment. Make sure that all the equipment – ranging from protective equipment to field conditions – are in good working order. Protective equipment and padding should be in good condition and fit properly. In addition, prior to taking part in practice or games, the conditions of the fields and courts should be evaluated for hazards. A wet court or an uneven surface on a field can cause significant injury.
5. Practice makes perfect. Young athletes should learn and practice proper form and technique for their given sport. For example, proper form when tackling in football, and properly fielding a ground ball in softball or baseball can go a long way in reducing the risks associated with preventable injury.
6. Realize the importance of an offseason. Overuse injuries are common in young athletes, and even more common in those that specialize in one sport. It is important for young athletes to take a break from their sport. Playing multiple sports throughout the year is said to be acceptable, and even encouraged, as different sports use different muscles and muscle groups.
Oftentimes, sports related injuries are preventable! While there are a number of different tips that would help prevent injury, the above six are a great place to start. Prevention is key, however, injuries are common in the world of athletics. If you or your loved one is in need of medical treatment following a sport related injury we are here to help!