sports safetySeptember is National Child Safety Awareness Month and with school and sports back in full swing, sports safety comes to mind. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), over 30 million children participate in organized sports each year in the United States.

Here are a few statistics from StopSportsInjuries.org regarding sports related injuries which I think are quite interesting.

  • High school athletes account for an estimated 2 million injuries and 500,000 doctor visits and 30,000 hospitalizations each year.
  • More than 3.5 million children under age 14 receive medical treatment for sports injuries each year.
  • Children ages 5 to 14 account for nearly 40 percent of all sports-related injuries treated in hospitals. On average the rate and severity of injury increases with a child’s age.
  • Although 62 percent of organized sports-related injuries occur during practice, one-third of parents do not have their children take the same safety precautions at practice that they would during a game.
  • Injuries associated with participation in sports and recreational activities account for 21 percent of all traumatic brain injuries among children in the United States.
  • Among athletes ages 5 to 14, approximately 28 percent of football players; 25 percent of baseball players; 22 percent of soccer players; 15 percent of basketball players; and 12 percent of softball players, were injured while playing their respective sports.

Here are a few ideas to help prevent sports related injuries, or to prevent an injury from becoming worse. Please remember that the number one reason kids play sports is to have fun.

  • Before your child begins any new sport, have he or she get a routine physical to make sure everything looks normal.
  • Always let the coaches know if your child has asthma, has any allergies, or other medical conditions.
  • Provide emergency contact information that includes: phone numbers, doctor’s name, and allergy information.
  • Coaches should have kids warm-up before any type of highly active practice or game.
  • Be sure your child stays hydrated. Don’t let your child leave the house without a water bottle.
  • Always have the appropriate safety gear available for each sport: helmets, pads, mouth guards, etc.
  • Know the signs and symptoms of a concussion.
  • Immediately sideline a player that is experiencing concussion-like symptoms.
  • Avoid overuse injuries by allowing adequate rest when necessary.
  • Make sure the area where practice or a game will take place is free from large holes, rocks, etc.
  • Encourage children to speak up if they are feeling ill or injured.
  • Become CPR certified. You never know when you may need it.