April 9, 2016
April is National Youth Sports Safety Month
Compiled by OutdoorsNW Staff
Photo at right: A young cyclist gets her helmet buckled. Photo courtesy of Seattle Parks and Recreation
Over 20 million children play sports in the United States and over 1.2 million experience a serious sports-related injury, according to Safe Kids USA, with 62 percent of those sports injuries occur during practice.
Because of these alarming statistics the American College of Sports Medicine, the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, the Unites States Olympic Committee along with 60 more national medical and sports organizations call April National Youth Sports Safety Month.
Sports-related injuries experienced in youth athletics include head injuries, cardiac arrest, bone, muscle or tendon breaks and tears, heat exhaustion, over-training exertion or overuse injuries. While head injuries such as concussions seem to be the most common injury in youth athletics, all sports-related injuries require attention and prevention awareness.
Here is a list of ways to help reduce and prevent sports-related injuries:
- Receive a pre-participation physical exam by a qualified doctor, nurse or clinician.
- Stay well-hydrated by drinking plenty of water before, during and after playing.
- Eat a well-balanced and nutritious diet that supports energy, muscle repair and bone growth.
- Warm up properly before playing to release muscle tension and help prevent muscle tears or sprains.
- Use appropriate and properly-fitted sports gear to prevent or reduce injuries.
- Take time off from one sport to prevent overuse injuries.
- For youths participating in sports that require head protection, wear a properly fitted helmet to protect the head, face and brain from falls.
- For cyclists, check tire pressure for proper amount of air, and for proper function of the bicycle’s brake system.
- For cyclists and skateboarders, be seen with bright, fluorescent or reflective clothing, along with legal and functioning lights on the skateboarder, cyclist and the bike.
- Know the rules of riding a bike or skateboard in traffic and ensure proper hand signals are used when turning and stopping.
- Both participating adults and youth athletes would benefit from being certified in first aid, CPR and learning the signs and symptoms of concussions and overuse injuries.
Safe Kids USA: safekids.org/tip/sports-safety-tips