Participation in sports offers tremendous social, emotional and physical benefits for children. We know that one of the worst things for kids is to be sidelined with an injury. As parents and coaches, there are simple things we can do to help reduce preventable injuries and keep our kids playing the sports they love.
Each year, 2.6 million children ages 19 and under receive medical treatment for sports and recreation injuries. Here are some tips to keep your kids active, healthy and injury-free:
Get a Pre-Participation Physical Exam. This can help rule out any medical conditions that may place your athlete at risk.
Warm Up and Stretch Before Games and Practices. Stretching can release muscle tension and help prevent sports-related injuries, such as muscle tears or sprains. Start with 10 minutes of jogging or light activity, and then stretch all major muscle groups, holding each stretch for 20 to 30 seconds.
Remember to Hydrate. One of the most important things that you can do for your body is to drink water. This can help your muscles stay loose and maintain a healthy fluid balance in your body. Encourage athletes to drink water 30 minutes
before the activity begins and every 15-20 minutes during activity.
Wear Appropriate Sports Gear. Wearing properly fitted sports gear can help avoid minor and serious injuries. Make sure athletes have the right equipment and are wearing it for both practices
Make Rest a Priority. 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 important to tell coaches or parents if they’re hurt or not feeling well. Kids should have at least one or two days off from any particular sport each week. An off-season is important too!