Plenty of kids love to play sports, and it can be a proud moment in any parent’s life when their little one signs up for the school football team or joins up with a local soccer or wrestling club, for example.
Statistics show that over 56% of American children participate in youth sports of all kinds, and getting involved with these kinds of physical activities can be a great way for little ones and teens alike to make new friends, learn new skills, and stay fit, as well as developing great habits for the future too.
At the same time, parents, guardians, and teachers have to acknowledge that sports aren’t without their risks. It doesn’t matter whether kids or adults are competing or what the sport happens to be, there’s always a potential for things to go wrong and players to get injured.
Back in 2012, over 1.3 million kids ended up in the ER due to sports-related injuries! So how do we allow our children to have fun and compete in sports while minimizing the risks associated with games like football, hockey, and soccer? Here are a few tips for grown-ups to bear in mind.
Wear Safety Gear
Naturally, one of the first and most obvious ways to improve child safety while competing in sports is to provide each and every child with the relevant safety equipment. This applies to a range of sports, from football to horseriding, and it’s important for parents, coaches, and teachers to be aware of safety equipment options for their child’s chosen sports.
Given that concussions are among the worst possible injuries that can occur on the playing field, and it’s even possible for kids to get concussions without hitting their heads, simply through bad tackles or sudden, unexpected impacts, helmets are essential. Other items of safety gear may include pads and gloves, and it’s important to get the right sizes to fit your kids too.
Teach Them The Rules
In an ideal world, if every player in every sport simply followed the results, the risks of injuries would be so much lower than they currently are. Of course, some sports have relatively lax rules regarding tackling and making contact with other players, so injuries would still occur, but they’d definitely be less likely has everyone followed the standards of good sportsmanship.
This is why it’s especially important for kids to be aware of the rules for their chosen sport and understand the importance of sticking to them. The responsibility of this should fall on the coach or teacher, but the parents can have a part to play too. By knowing the rules and seeing why they matter, kids will be less likely to do harm to one another.
Stress The Importance Of Awareness
Sometimes, accidents and injuries occur on the field purely due to a lack of awareness. Maybe two players are running to catch the same ball on the baseball field, for example, and end up charging right into each other, or perhaps a soccer player is focusing so much on the ball that they accidentally back into or hit another player.
This is why kids need to know the importance of being alert, aware, and observant when playing their favorite games. Awareness is key in any sport, helping players stay aware of their teammates, playing field conditions, and situations around them in order to respond in the safest and smartest ways.
Always Warm Up and Never Play Injured
Another essential part of keeping kids safe while playing sports is ensuring that they’re always in the right condition to play. This starts before the game, with a good warm-up routine that stretches out the muscles and limbers up the body in preparation for the game ahead. Without a proper warm-up, injuries become much more likely.
Speaking of injuries, it’s also important that kids know they should never try and play with an injury. This will not only harm their chances of success on the field but also vastly increase the chances of them aggravating their injury, putting them out of action for longer or even doing serious, life-altering damage to their bodies.
Kids should absolutely be encouraged to play sports, and participating in clubs and teams can be wonderful for their personal, social, and physical development, but it’s also important to remember these top safety tips to ensure every young player minimizes their risks of injury every single time they take to the field.