April is Youth Sports Safety Month. And while most sports parents are used to the occasional scraped knee, bruise or jammed finger, youth sports is not without the potential for serious injury. Over 20 million kids participate in sports and almost one million suffer serious sports related injuries. Sports related injuries account for 41% of musculoskeletal injuries in athletes ages 5-21 and 300,000 brain injuries per year are sports related. Torn ACLs (most common among soccer and basketball players, especially female athletes), sudden cardiac arrest, heat stroke—all are possible, but most are preventable! Sports parents, coaches and league organizers all have a role to play when it comes to preventing youth sports injuries. Are you doing your part?
Here are few ways coaches can help prevent youth sports injuries:
1. Team up players based on size (especially in full-contact sports like football).
2. Give plenty of water breaks to prevent dehydration. Unlike Denzel Washington in “Remember the Titans” would like us to believe, water does NOT make you weak!
3. Create a warm-up regimen to make sure everyone is adequately stretched and loose before practice starts.
Here are a few ways sports parents can help keep their athletes safe:
1. Make sure your athlete is getting the right nutrition they need to keep up with the active sports schedule.
2. Buy the right gear for the right sport and make sure it fits!
3. Every child should get a sports-specific physical exam before each season. Consider also getting a heart screening test.
Here are a few ways sports league organizers can ensure that all their participants have a healthy and injury-free season:
1. Make sure all coaches and volunteers are trained in basic first-aid, including live saving techniques like CPR and how to use an AED.
2. Check all your fields/courts at the beginning of each season to make sure they are in game-ready shape. Revisit them periodically to address any maintenance issues.
3. Provide all of your teams with a comprehensive first aid kit so coaches and parents have all the supplies that they need in case of an emergency.
SportsSignup is dedicated to getting kids involved in youth sports, but we want to make sure that every youth athlete has a healthy and safe season!