When kids indulge in a sport, they have nothing else on their minds than winning or having fun. While that’s common, it also means a challenge for parents, coaches, and doctors to prevent the kids from getting injured.
Sports like basketball, soccer, softball, biking, roller sports, football, and baseball are among the top favorites of kids aged 5 to 14. And these also top the list when it comes to sport-related injuries, ranging from minor fractures to paralysis in worst cases.
Nevertheless, recreational activities are essential for kids’ healthy development. Hence, it is important to take specific precautions to keep your children safe while participating in recreational activities. Here are some ways to stay safe when playing sports of any kind.
- Stay Hydrated
Staying hydrated when playing sports, especially outdoor sports during warmer weather, is crucial to avoiding sport-related injuries.
You sweat a lot while you play. All the sweat lost should be replaced with equal amounts of fluids every hour of partaking in intense sports activities. Ensure your child drinks enough fluids (not beverages with carbonation and caffeine) before, during, and after each game or practice session. Nonetheless, don’t let them drink large amounts of fluids at once as it can lead to stomach cramps. Instead, have them drink about a cup of water every 15 to 20 minutes.
If your child shows signs of dehydration like weakness, headache, or dizziness, make sure they get fluids right away alongside a snack.
- Stay Geared Up
Protective gear refers to anything you wear that will keep you from getting injured. Typically, the equipment you should get will depend on the type of sport you play. However, a few can be applied to several sports, like helmets. Helmets protect your head while playing football, baseball, softball, hockey, skateboarding, biking, or inline skating.
However, make sure you choose the right helmet for your sport. For instance, you should wear your football helmet when playing baseball. Additionally, your helmet should fit your head comfortably, and if it comes with a strap, it should be adequately fastened. Other important safety gears include mouthguards, wrist and elbow pads, knee guards, cleats and sports sunglasses.
- Undergo a Physical Exam
A physical examination is beneficial to stay safer when playing sports. It might be tempting to get right back on the field if you love sports, even if you are injured. However, playing when you are hurt or before an injury is fully healed can worsen the injury and leave you on the sideline for a long time.
Get regular physical examination after games, especially if you are hurt, and follow your doctor’s advice about how and when to return to practice and play.
- Follow the Rules
Just like traffic lights at an intersection prevent vehicle crashes, the rules of a game are made to prevent sport-related injuries. When your children know the rules of the game, fewer injuries happen and all players will know what to expect from each other.
For instance, soccer rules state that a player can crash into another player’s legs or attack from behind to steal the ball. This means players know that it is better to go after the ball than after the player.
- Stretch Up
It is not a good idea to bolt onto the field without warming up. In fact, you shouldn’t even start stretching until you do little warm-up exercises.
So, set aside some time before every practice session to stretch up. Begin with some warm-up exercises, and then break into a light jog to get loosened up. Continue stretching your major muscles used during the sports activity. This will release muscle tension and strengthen your muscles while also increasing flexibility.
- Be a Team Player
A game is not always about winning or being the star of the match. Sometimes, it is about protecting other players and being friendly. Be a team player and ensure the safety of your co-players as well as players in your opponent team.
A diver should ensure the pool is clear before diving to prevent landing on someone else, and a softball batter should drop the bat rather than flinging it after hitting the ball so that no one is injured.
One way to practice being a team player is through communication. For example, a baseball player in the outfield can yell “I got it” to avoid a collision with another outfielder.
The pressure to always win can put a child under significant emotional stress. Young athletes shouldn’t be judged on winning butting on effort, hard work, and sportsmanship.
Whether they win or not, they should be rewarded for their hard work and improving their skills. The main purpose of sports should be to have fun and learn lifelong skills related to staying active and healthy through physical fitness.