Every year almost 30 million U.S. kids participate in organized sports. Although many studies have shown the psychological and physical benefits of playing sports the number of preventable injuries is growing rapidly as well.
Taking a few steps can drastically reduce the chances of your child being injured on the field or at practice.
For those kids that plan to participate in sports this year an annual physical is especially important. While the doctor will check your child’s weight and vaccinations make sure to address any current injuries, cardiac issues and history of concussions. Ideally, the sports physical should happen about six weeks before the start of the season, according to St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital Medical Director Daniel Plasencia, M.D.
If your child is injured during the season, you should immediately schedule an appointment with the pediatrician and make sure they are well before returning to play.
Of all the sports injuries that happen each year it is estimated by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that half are preventable. So keep in mind, that regardless of what sport your kids want to play there are ways they can stay safe. As well as checking online, contact your team coach, pediatrician and league to see what safety equipment is required and available.
Remember - Using safety equipment is not limited to actual game play. Some studies argue that more sports-related injuries happen during practice because one third of parents don’t enforce the same safety restrictions during practice as they do in games. Your child should be wearing all of the safety gear during both practice and games.
Leagues and Fields
Each league, whether it by through your local Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA or school district, has stringent rules in place to keep families safe during practice and games. Some things to look out for are safe playing conditions, accredited staff and coaches, positive environment and happy families!
Work with your kids and teach them why and how to play safe sports. Making them accountable for activities like following directions and stretching will teach them not only to stay safe but also be aware of unsafe conditions.
For more information and statistics about sports injuries, visit www.StopSportsInjuries.org.