April 1, 2016
Spring is here and participation in organized sports or playing in the neighborhood offers tremendous social, emotional and physical benefits for children. We know it is no fun for kids to sit on the sidelines with an injury. Here are a few simple things parents can do to help reduce injuries so kids can continue playing the games they love!
Before playing organized sports, your child should receive a pre-participation physical exam. Before the first practice, inform your child’s coaches of any history with asthma or other medical conditions that may require special attention.
Remember to hydrate
Learn the signs and symptoms of dehydration and other heat-related illnesses. Some symptoms include thirst, fatigue, irritability, dry mouth and feeling hot. Send children to practice and games with a water bottle and encourage them to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water before, during and after play. Encourage athletes to drink fluids 30 minutes before activity begins and every 15 to 20 minutes during activity. If you’re a coach, establish mandatory water breaks throughout practice and games — don’t wait for athletes to tell you they’re thirsty.
Always warm up and stretch
Stretching before practice and games can release muscle tension and help prevent sports-related injuries. Athletes should start with about 10 minutes of jogging or any light activity and stretch all major muscle groups, holding for 20 to 30 seconds.
Wear protective sports gear
Use the correct, properly fitted sports safety gear to prevent or reduce the severity of injuries. Make sure athletes use the correct equipment in order to participate in both practices and games. This may include helmets, shin guards, mouth guards, ankle braces, shoes with rubber cleats and sunscreen.
Don’t take chances with the brain: Know thesigns and symptoms of concussions
Learn the signs and symptoms of a concussion at NortonChildrensHospital.com/Concussions. This information is important for coaches, parents and athletes. An athlete with a suspected concussion must be removed from play until evaluated and cleared by a medical professional. A good rule of thumb: When in doubt, sit them out.
Have a prepared coach
To help avoid overuse injuries, athletes should take breaks during practice and games. Teach your child to notify an adult of any pain, injury or illness they may have during or after practice or games.
Make rest a priority
Ask a coach about established safety guidelines that athletes and parents can follow during every practice and game, setting aside time for athletes to warm up properly, such as creating hydration breaks, encouraging players to sit out if injured, resting if not feeling well and facilitating a proper warm-up. Find out whether your child’s coach is certified in first aid and CPR, and have a stocked first aid kit available at all practices and games.
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