LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 10, 2011) — Experts say as many as half the injuries sustained by youth while playing sports are preventable to the more than 3.5 million injuries that occur in youth sports each year in the United States.
“Children ages 5 to 14 account for nearly 40 percent of all sports-related injuries treated in hospital emergency departments,” said Sherri Hannan, a nurse and coordinator of Safe Kids Fayette County, led by Kentucky Children's Hospital. “Our goal is to reach coaches and parents through these clinics and equip them with the critical information and resources to keep kids out of the emergency room.”
Here are five important sports safety tips from Safe Kids Fayette County for coaches, parents, and league organizers to use to prevent sports-related injuries:
- Pre-Season Medical Screening: These exams can detect any underlying conditions the young athlete may have and therefore prevent a potential medical emergency.
- Safety gear: To prevent acute injuries, children playing sports should have access to and consistently use well-maintained safety equipment during both practices and games.
- Qualified coaching: Athletic coaches should be trained in both first aid and CPR, have a plan for responding to emergencies and have current knowledge of proper hydration methods (and establishing mandatory breaks) and concussion prevention, recognition and response. Coaches should also establish safety guidelines that athletes, parents and coaches will follow.
- Proper Conditioning: To prevent acute and overuse injuries, coaches should teach young athletes proper routines for both warm-ups and cool-downs before and after practice and play. This can help prevent sports-related injuries (such as muscle tears or sprains) by stretching and releasing any muscle tension.
- Hydration: Athletes should be encouraged to drink fluids (water or sports drink) 30 minutes before the activity begins and every 15-20 minutes during activity. Coaches should establish mandatory water breaks during practice and games—don't wait for the child to tell you he/she is thirsty.
- Rest: If young athletes are very tired or in pain, coaches and parents should encourage them to rest as this valuable recovery time can help prevent acute and overuse injuries.
For more information sports injury prevention in general, please call Safe Kids Fayette County at (859) 323-1153 or visit www.safekids.org/sports.
About Safe Kids
Safe Kids Fayette County works to prevent accidental childhood injury, the leading killer of children 14 and under. Its members include health and safety experts, educators, community leaders, corporations, foundations, government representatives and volunteers to educate and protect families. Safe Kids Fayette County is a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations dedicated to preventing accidental injury. Safe Kids Fayette County was founded in 1994 by Kentucky Children's Hospital.
MEDIA CONTACT: Julie Meador, (859) 247-1754 ext. 256 or Julie.Meador@uky.edu