Sports Safety & Injury Prevention
Since school started in September, many children have been leaving their classrooms for fields, rinks and courts to practice for a sports team. Whether it’s soccer in the fall, hockey in the winter, or tennis in the spring, participating in sports is a fantastic way for your child to stay physically active and for them to build sportsmanship. To ensure that your young athlete stays active and healthy, it’s important to be aware of and discuss safety techniques that can help prevent common sports injuries.
Equipment and Protective Gear
One of the first steps you can take as a parent or guardian is to double-check that your athlete is training with the correct gear. It is a must that the equipment matches what is required for a specific sport, as each uses different parts of the body during movements and certain areas may be more prone to injury. The condition of these items should be noted as well, to ensure they are fully protecting the child. There should be no cracks, frays or expirations.
Training and Practice
The next step in enhancing your child’s safety as they play sports is to ensure they are training correctly. This means that they are working with their coach or instructor to establish proper technique for the activity. They could also attend preseason conditioning practices, if they are available, in order to strengthen muscles and improve flexibility prior to the sports season commencing. When the season begins, your child must remember to stretch properly before and after practice to avoid muscle strain and sprain which are among the most common types of sports related injuries. Your child should also remember to warm up and cool down accordingly, and you as a guardian should encourage periods of rest to allow time for their body to recover.
Physical Health and Nourishment
The body repairs itself when it is not being worked, but it is important that the body is not pushed to its extremes. This means completing physicals prior to the start of their sports season in order to get a complete sense of your child’s health. If there are preexisting conditions that may be worsened from partaking in sports, discuss these with your child’s coach and have an action plan in case something does happen. For example, if your child has asthma, be sure to have them take breaks and have an inhaler close by.
In order to fuel for a potentially strenuous activity, consumption of nourishing foods is necessary, as well as proper hydration before, during, and after the activity. Young athletes must be sure to obtain a mix of vitamins and minerals, including calcium and iron, as well as protein and carbohydrates. Drinking enough fluids is necessary to prevent dehydration and heat-related illnesses if it is an outdoor activity.
By following these tips, you can make sure that your child stays safe while playing one or more sports. Support them so they can support their team!