Last year around this time, we talked about concussions and sports. While concussions are serious and need to be handled appropriately, kids can become severely injured in all kinds of ways while playing sports – and that includes during practice!
There was estimated to be about 1.35 million emergency room visits for kids 6-19 because of sports injuries in 2013 – costing over $935 million! That’s one child every 25 seconds! In fact, sports injuries make up about 20% of all emergency room visits for that same age range – 6-19! That is a lot of pain, time, and money!
What’s really sad is that once injured, a student-athlete is 2-3 times more likely to suffer ANOTHER injury! So preventing injuries in the first place is key!
Here’s how you can help keep your student-athlete in top performance shape:
- Have athletes do pre-season physicals to check for any problems that might have developed or been missed previously. Post-season physicals are a good ideas as well.
- Athletes, parents, and coaches should all be educated on common injuries, their warning signs, and prevention techniques.
- Make sure athletes understand the importance of letting coaches and parents know of any symptoms they might be having. They will not have any future at any level in their sport if they are not taking care of themselves – and that includes proper medical care!
- Coaches should have an emergency plan in place before the season begins on how to handle injuries and concussions. Your volunteers actually provide emergency medical coverage during games for several sports as part of the plan!
- Keep an eye on the weather. Cancelling games because of deep snow is pretty normal but we need to keep an eye on the weather when the thermometer is going in the other direction too! Kids need time to adjust gradually to playing in hot or humid weather. And if it’s too hot, practices and games should be cancelled altogether.
- Make sure that athletes are using the appropriate and properly-fitted gear for their sport. And that they wear it properly and keep in it good condition! The correct gear used responsibly can help lessen the severity of injuries or prevent them all together.
- Train like you play! 48.5% of injuries occur during practice! Make sure that kids are wearing all of their protective gear – every. single. practice!
- Make sure athletes are being taught proper techniques – sport-specific techniques as well as basic warm up, cool off, conditioning, and stretching techniques.
- Athletes should train year round – but not the same sport. Athletes who only play one sport a year are 50% more likely to suffer a knee injury and have a greater risk of any injury. Ask the coach about what sort of conditioning they can do in the off season or what other sports might be beneficial to their favorite sport – the answer might surprise you! Oregon State University has had a Ballet Skills for Athletes class for YEARS because of the benefits of crosstraining with ballet! Some of your favorites on the football field have graced the studio floors too! Crosstraining can not only help you improve your skills by focusing on different aspects than you normally would but it can help reduce repetition and overuse injuries too. Young bodies need breaks!
- Make sure athletes are getting plenty of rest.
- Make sure that athletes are well-hydrated. Make sure that they have a filled water bottle with them and that they are getting frequent water breaks.
- Support injured athletes! Make sure that they understand that sitting out for an injury isn’t letting anyone down and that the best thing they can do for themselves AND the team is allow themselves to recover completely! Make sure they are still involved in the team!
We hope all of our students have a great and safe school year! We look forward to watching you play as we provide medic services at home games!