Sports participation was a staple of many of our upbringings. The smell of a freshly mowed field or the cheers of fans from the sidelines of a game can bring back wistful memories of passing a ball or rounding the bases. Playing sports at a young age can teach kids the value of teamwork and discipline, while helping them grow into their own abilities. However, sports always need to be approached with safety to prevent common sports injuries.
By knowing what causes these injuries and best prevention practices, you can feel secure knowing your child will have a fun and rewarding experience playing whatever sport they choose.
How you can prevent your child from getting hurt on the field:
- Always use the proper equipment – make sure your children’s safety gear is meant for the sports they’re playing and that it fits properly. Helmets should always be worn for baseball or softball, riding a bike, skateboard, or scooters, and for hockey. Many sports also require mouthguards, athletic cups, shin guards, shoulder pads, and other protective gear. Always ensure that protective equipment is approved by organizations associated with each sport. Discuss the proper equipment needed with your child’s coach.
- Adult supervision is a must – team sports need to be supervised by qualified adults. Review the safety statements from the leagues and teams you are considering for your child’s activities. Coaches should be trained in CPR and first aid and should always promote players’ well-being over an “always win” attitude.
- Ensure your kid is ready – discuss the rules of the sports and how to play before sending your child out on the field. You wouldn’t throw someone into a pool who didn’t know how to swim; it’s equally dangerous to send someone on a field without knowing how to play the game. This readiness includes warm-ups before practices and games, proper hydration, a well-balanced diet, and rest throughout the activity as needed.
- Playing surfaces should be properly maintained – check for holes or other things that could catch feet and ankles on the field. Wooden basketball courts or well-maintained tracks are best for high-impact sports like running or basketball. It’s advised against playing on less-forgiving surfaces like concrete.
If you notice any change in how your child is playing sports such as rubbing their leg or suddenly limping, pull them out of the game for rest. If the pain persists after a period of rests, or if you notice a change such as swelling or popping, contact our podiatry team at Connecticut Foot Care Centers, LLC. Our expert team of foot doctors maintain the highest level of accreditation and stay abreast of ongoing trends in podiatry.