From Football to Soccer: Keeping Your Youth Athlete Safe From Injuries
The summer season marks the start of Little League, soccer, football and other youth sports. Although youth sports are prevalent in the South year-round, summer is a popular time for sports camps, summer leagues and training for the fall sports season.
Young athletes are at risk of injury in any sport they participate in, but some sports are more “high risk” than others—and the injuries are more severe, such as concussions and other head-related conditions.
According to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), between 1.7 and 3 million sports-related concussions occur every year. Other common injuries include sprains, strains and fractures.
Let’s take a look at the most dangerous youth sports and what you can do as a parent to ensure your child’s safety.
No parent wants their child to be injured, particularly when they’re playing their favorite sports. Whether your young child or adolescent is playing sports recreationally or on a team, here are some of the most dangerous warmer-weather sports (according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s National Electronic Injury Surveillance System):
Is Your Child’s Favorite Sport Dangerous?
- Jumping on a trampoline
Some of the sports and activities on the list may surprise you and others may not. As a Southern parent, you may be spending your summer and fall rooting your favorite youth football team.
Regardless of the sport your child participates in, there are ways you can play a role in keeping them safe.
Keeping Your Young Athlete Safe
Whether playing a match or practicing, your child’s safety is crucial. When your child is involved in an organized sport, like a summer baseball or football league, coaches and other assistants are trained to keep your child safer and know how to handle injuries.
It can be more difficult (but not impossible) to keep your child safe when they are playing at a friend’s house or at your neighborhood park.
Before you sign your child up for summer sports, make sure you know all the potential risks associated with the sport, particularly concussions or traumatic brain injuries. UPMC reports that many concussions go undetected or are unreported.
Ask the coaches and sports organizers how they assess injuries and their plan for preventing them.
Regardless if your child is grade-school age or in high school, it’s important to talk to them about speaking up if they are injured or if they don’t feel well when playing on the field. Although there’s less pressure these days for youth athletes to “toughen up” or “walk it off,” you can’t always assume that coaches will notice or assess every injury.
Another way to keep an eye on your young athlete’s safety is to attend every match or get involved as an assistant or coach. Always inspect your child’s sports gear (and ensure there’s adequate equipment available). If you notice excessive damage like cracks or lack of padding, request new gear.
Encourage your child to understand their physical limitations and to take sufficient breaks, especially during the sweltering summer heat. Athletes are often more prone to injury when they become too hot, tired or are not hydrated.
Injuries are a part of youth sports, but many are preventable by paying close attention and raising awareness. As a parent, your role is crucial to your child’s safety both on and off the field.
Photo by Peter Miller from Flickr Creative Commons.