April is National Youth Sports Safety Month! This is a month dedicated to helping raise awareness of sports-related injuries in young athletes as well as assisting parents and coaches to learn how to prevent them.
As the weather starts to get warmer and the smell of baseball is in the air, you will find spring and summer sports are back in action. April is a pretty busy month for children in sports. This makes it a perfect time to learn some simple tips and tricks to keep young athletes safe while they get ready for the season!
Nearly 2.6 million children are seen in the emergency department for sports-related injuries every year. In 2012 alone, 3.35 million children were seen in emergency departments around the country due to a sports-related injury. That is quite a bit of visits! Many sports-related injuries are preventable.
Here are some basic guidelines to follow to prevent a sports injury this season:
- A physical exam is important for health and well-being. Before engaging in a sport, a pre-participation physical exam should be conducted by a physician. This will help catch medical conditions or pre-existing injuries that may have gone unnoticed.
- Hydration is key! Bring a water bottle or some Gatorade to practice and be sure to stay hydrated throughout the day.
- After a proper warm-up, stretching before any game or practice is key in releasing muscle tension and preventing joint pain, strains, and muscle damage. Stretching well prior to vigorous exercise will avoid tearing of the muscles, leading to injury.
Coaches must be able to learn the signs and symptoms of injury, such as a concussion, and should know when to rest or alternate players throughout practices and games. It is important they are first aid and CPR certified to properly respond if an injury does occur.
Although some children may play more than one sport, it is recommended that 10 consecutive weeks of rest are given from anyone sport each year. When in season, a good night’s rest is crucial to rest and repair muscles to avoid damage or strain.