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Developing Safe Habits in Youth Sports

>> Apr 12, 2013

If interested every child should be given the opportunity to participate in sports. Sports not only keep kids fit and healthy but they also teach them many valuable life traits such as teamwork, leadership and discipline.  Unfortunately, playing sports does come with certain risks, and the most common risk is the possibility of getting injured. As parents, it is important for us to remember these important benefits of sports, but at the same time, we must also remember to keep them safe when they are participating.

Kids can be injured while participating in any type of sport, but football presents a high risk for potential injuries.  With the help of the new NFL Evolution campaign, parents and coaches are able to learn about many of the injuries that children are at risk of sustaining, but more importantly, they are able to learn how to prevent and treat these injuries. This campaign does not only directly impact football but many other sports as well.  As parents I feel that is extremely important for us to be properly educated on the risks of contact sports and the ways in which we can help keep our children safe during participation.  Also as a parent I am happy that a high level organization such as the NFL has stepped up in an effort to make the sports our children player safer. 

Various different injuries are very common in contact sports but injuries that seem to me the most common are concussions, ligament tears and heat related injuries.  Below is some information on these injuries and ways in which they can be prevented. 


A concussion can be defined as minor traumatic brain injury that results from a severe hit to the head.  Concussions are a very serious injury and should not be taken lightly if one occurs. Common symptoms of a concussion may be headache, nausea, memory loss and even hearing loss.  Over the years many past NFL players have complained about concussions and the damage they have presented to them in their lives after football, such as hearing loss.  Recently the NFLPA has partnered with EarQ,a hearing aids provider to not only help treat former football players who suffer from hearing loss but also to educate parents and children on the severity of head injuries and their direct correlation with hearing loss.  Here are a few tips for parents in order to help prevent their child from suffering a concussion:

-Wear your helmet!  Not only should children always have the proper head gear on at all times while playing sports but parents should also make sure that it fits properly.

-Children should be taught how to properly use their bodies in contact sports.  Hitting with the head rather than other parts of the body can result in serious head injuries. 

-If you think your child has a concussion, they not only should be taken out of the game but should also be seen immediately by a doctor.

-Once a concussion has been diagnosed, your child, although they may feel better, should not return to sports until they are fully healed. 

Ligament Tears

As with concussions, the best treatment for ligament tears is to get treatment early. With early treatment, doctors can determine if the injury is an ACL tear. ACL tears are the most disastrous type of ligament tear, and for many NFL players, this injury can threaten their career. Parents and coaches should be aware of this injury and the impact it can have on an athlete’s career.  Here are a few tips to help protect against ACL tears. 

-Make sure to properly stretch and warm up before any sort of competition.

-If cleared by a doctor, athletes should perform strength and conditioning exercises, specifically targeting the lower body and the muscles around the knee.

-Athletes can do agility and core drills to help improve balance. 

Heat Related Injuries

Many people are aware of the possibility of heat strokes during the summer, but there are other injuries that players can sustain because of heat. For example, sunburns are a type of heat related injury, but it can be prevented. Players should wear a water-proof sunscreen, and this will help to prevent sunburns and other skin related injuries.  To prevent heat strokes, children should always be provided with sports drinks and water while they are participating in their sports; furthermore, if they wear light clothing, take frequent breaks, and practice during the early morning or late evening hours, their chances of experiencing a heat stroke will be greatly reduced.

While playing sports, kids will develop lifelong friendships and learn lifelong values; however, parents must be sure that they provide kids with all of the equipment and skills that they need to enjoy the game in a safe environment.

Hi my name is John O'Connor, I am a father, outdoorsman, sports enthusiast and passionate about living a healthy lifestyle.  Check out my new blog at bloggingwjohno.blogspot.com!

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