A guide to safety:
There are many benefits when it comes to involving your children in sports at a young age. Sports can help improve coordination, physical fitness, self-discipline and helps children build their teamwork abilities. However, children are at greater risk of becoming injured because their young bodies are still developing. The good news is that many youth sports injuries can be prevented. Some of the ways to try and prevent youth sports injuries include, but are not limited to:
- Age-Specific Coaching: When speaking broadly, age-specific coaching benefits many children. Age-specific coaching gives children very individually oriented coaching for their abilities, in their age range. For example, it would be difficult for a younger and less experienced youth athlete to be given instructions by a coach who has experienced only coaching older children. If your child is playing sports with children much older and more experienced than them, their safety could potentially be at risk.
- Appropriate Physical Conditioning: Being physically conditioned before starting a sport can also help your child avoid possible injuries. While it is important to understand that an injury can occur at any moment, no matter how experienced an individual is, conditioning gives athletes the endurance to be physically capable to handle a sport. For example, it would be difficult and stressful for a child to not have any cardio conditioning and be expected to play soccer.
- Proper Use of Equipment: Properly using equipment is crucial when playing a sport. Wearing the proper gear, the correct way when playing a sport will help reduce the chances of your child having an injury. For example, let’s say your child is a catcher on a baseball team and they are not properly wearing their helmet or glove. The chances of them having an injury will be significantly higher than if they were properly wearing their gear. (Please note that simply wearing the right gear does not eliminate the risk of being injured in rough sports)
- Hydration: Dehydration is highly dangerous for a youth athlete. Be sure that your child stays hydrated when they are both playing sports and in their free time as well. Because youth athletes are so active, they require to drink plenty of water to avoid all of the dangers that come with being dehydrated.
Common Sports Injuries in Children:
Overuse Injuries: Typically, overuse injuries happen gradually, as their body slowly strains itself by not having enough time to heal between injuries. Some of these common injuries include shin splints, elbow injuries from throwing, and Achilles tendinitis. To avoid these injuries from becoming more detrimental to your child’s health, they should be treated immediately. Parents and coaches should take action if a child athlete has:
- Constant pain
- Considerable changes in form and/or technique
- Decreased interest in the sport and/or practice
Acute Injuries: Acute injuries happen when there has been sudden trauma, such as a collision, fall, or twist. The most common acute injuries include sprained ligaments, bruises, cuts, broken bones, tendon injuries, and more! Coaches should immediately inform the parent of the child with the acute injury and parents should have their child promptly evaluated by their pediatrician. Coaches should also use the RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevate) method as soon as a child has an injury while playing a sport.
While it can be a challenge to keep up with all of the sports safety tips, it is important to implement all of these strategies to keep your young athlete safe! By consistently following these tips, you are sure to have a star athlete on your hands! If you have questions or concerns regarding your child, know that we are here for you! Contact our office at 561-275-7100.