Participation in any sport, whether it's recreational bike riding or Pee-Wee football, can teach kids to stretch their limits and learn sportsmanship and discipline. But any sport also carries the potential for injury.
Each year, 3 million children are seen in emergency departments with sports-related injuries.
Children are less coordinated and have slower reaction times than adults because they are still growing and developing. This also means that kids might unknowingly take risks that can result in injuries.
Kids also mature physically and mentally at different rates. And when kids of varying sizes play sports together, there may be an increased risk of injury. As kids grow bigger and stronger, the potential for injury increases, largely because of the amount of force involved.
Other Safety Tips
Hydration is key. Bring a bottle of water to every practice and game and drink enough water before, during, and after all activities.
Allow time to stretch and warm up prior to practices and games.
Wear appropriate and properly fitted protective sports gear such as helmets, padding, mouth guards, etc.
Ensure children are taking enough time to rest between sports to prevent overuse injuries.
Concussions — temporary disruptions of brain function — can happen with any head injury, often without a loss of consciousness.
To help prevent concussions during sports-related activities:
Ensure children as using the right protective equipment and that it fits properly and is well maintained.
Educate yourself and your children about the signs and symptoms of a concussion.
Follow all safety rules of the sport.
If a concussion is suspected, do not return to play until evaluated by a healthcare professional and given permission to continue playing.
Kids who get concussions usually recover within a week or two by following certain precautions and taking a break from sports and other activities that make symptoms worse.