More than 2.6 million children ages birth through 19, receive medical treatment each year for sports and recreation-related injuries (CDC.gov).
Participation in team sports and activities provides children with social, emotional and physical benefits as they develop. However, experiencing an injury and having to watch from the sidelines can be detrimental to a child furthering their experience in the activity.
Remember these tips to keep your child safe and in the game:
- Before playing an organized sport, children should have a pre-participation physical exam
- Document phone numbers, doctor information and allergy information for the coach in case of an emergency
- Warm up and stretch prior to games and practice to release muscle tensions and help prevent sport-related injuries
- Hydrate before, during and after each physical activity to help prevent heat illness and muscle cramping
- Wear appropriate and fitted protective gear for the sport or activity to prevent injuries during practice and competition
- Learn the signs and symptoms of heat illness and concussion; this information is important for coaches, parents, caregivers and athletes
- Make rest a priority to prevent overuse of muscles, heat illness and fatigue
- Be conscious of the weather and know when the heat index and humidity are too high or when a storm might occur
- Be a supportive parent or caregiver
Concussions are becoming more relevant due to education and can happen in any sport. A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury. Concussions are caused by a bump or blow to the head. As youth sports are about to start, it is important that parents and caregivers recognize the signs and symptoms of a concussion to prevent second impact injury or long term impairments.
When a bump or blow to the head during a game or practice has been experienced, the following signs and symptoms of a concussion can be observed/reported:
Observed by adults:
- Appears dazed or stunned
- Is confused about assignment or position
- Forgets sports plays
- Is unsure of game, score or opponent
- Moves clumsily
- Answers questions slowly
- Loses consciousness (even briefly)
- Shows behavior or personality changes
- Cannot recall events prior to hit or fall
- Cannot recall events after hit or fall
Reported by the athlete:
- Headache or pressure in the head
- Nausea or vomiting
- Balance problems or dizziness
- Double or blurry vision
- Sensitivity to light
- Sensitivity to noise
- Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy or groggy
- Concentration or memory problems
- Not feeling right
If a concussion is suspected:
- Seek medical attention right away; a health care professional will be able to decide how serious the concussion is and when it is safe for your child to return to activities.
- Keep your child out of play. Concussions take time to heal. Do not let your child return to play until cleared by a health professional. Returning to play before healing can prolong symptoms and increase the risk of another concussion.
- Tell your child’s coach about any recent concussion; coaches should be aware of this.