Between winning goals, bad calls, the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat, watching your children play sports can seem as exciting as the big leagues. While it is important to encourage kids to do their best and give 100 percent, teaching them how to be safe while playing sports will prevent dangerous injury and results in a more healthy season on the field.
While children can be resilient, numerous or repeated sports injuries may lead to health problems, such as osteoarthritis in adulthood. Here are some points to consider as you begin another sports season.
- Equipment: When you sign your children up for organized sports, it is likely that there will be some equipment requirements to ensure your child’s safety. Kids may fuss about wearing it, but proper equipment is critical to their health and well-being. Equipment should fit well and be appropriate for the sport.
- Education: It is important to teach kids the right message about participation in school sports. Fun, exercise, teamwork, skill building, and personal development should all be reasons to engage in school sports. Taking the time to educate children on sportsmanship can go a long way in creating a safe environment for competitive sports. Look for coaches and trainers who share these values.
- Exercises: Like adults, children need to take the appropriate cautions to prevent injuries, such as warming up, stretching, and cooling down. For more information, the STOP Sports Injuries campaign has a large number of sport-specific tip sheets with injury prevention information.
- Evaluation: Before gearing up, it is important to ask, “Is this the right sport for my child?” Children should be grouped by what their skills are and how big they are, not just by their age. This is especially true for contact sports. Be sure not to force your child to play a sport he or she does not like or may not be physically suited for.
- Examination: Make sure your child has a physical examination before beginning sports. A physician can determine whether there are any underlying conditions that could be affected by a sports-related injury.
A leader in sports medicine, Medical Center Arlington is the official hospital of the Texas Rangers. Should you or your child need to see a doctor for a sports injury or if your family needs a physician referral, please visit our website or contact us at (817) 473-3901.