LEWISBURG, Tenn. — The arrival of warmer weather signals the start of many outdoor activities, including youth league sports. April is National Youth Sports Safety Month and Marshall Medical Center (MMC) offers some guidelines on helping youngsters stay safe and healthy while participating in their favorite pastimes.
The National Youth Sports Safety Foundation estimates that five million children require treatment in emergency rooms each year because of sports injuries. Sports injuries are the second most frequent cause of injury for both boys and girls.
Gregg Cloutier is the head certified athletic trainer with MMC’s Physical Medicine Department. According to Cloutier, who works with athletes at Marshall County High School, many sports injuries can be prevented.
“Playing sports is a great way for young people to learn the importance of teamwork while getting the benefits of physical fitness,” said Cloutier. “As parents and coaches, we can help reduce the risk that a child will be injured while playing sports.”
To help make sure that children stay healthy while playing sports, parents are encouraged to consider these suggestions:
- Schedule a pre-season physical examination with the child’s physician.
- Make certain that necessary protective equipment is being used and that it fits the child well.
- Be sure the child warms up with stretching prior to practice and game time.
- Never allow a child to play sports while injured or fatigued.
- Ensure that the player maintains a well-balanced diet and remains hydrated.
- Keep the focus on having fun instead of placing pressure on a child to excel or win.
- Know the signs and symptoms of a concussion. Seek immediate medical treatment for a child who appears dazed or confused, has trouble with vision or balance, experiences nausea or headaches, or loses consciousness.
“Participating in team sports as a youngster can help to instill the importance of exercise and working with others even into adulthood,” said Cloutier. “By making certain that your child is physically ready before each practice and game, you are helping to prevent injury and ensure that the experience will be a good one.”