Many kids can’t wait to get started playing a sport, entering sports seasons with excitement and energy. However, inadequate sport safety can cause long-term damage to their bodies. It’s important to know what to prepare for when your child begins a sport and what to look for when something goes wrong.
Healthy Sporting Tips for Kids
To begin, getting a PPE, or preparticipation physical exam, will help gauge how ready a child’s body is for the rigors of ongoing sports practice. It also helps rule out possible issues that might appear in for your child due to playing a sport.
Next, it’s imperative to have a full, proper warm up before the child participates in the sporting activity. Children should begin with approximately 10 minutes of jogging followed by stretching to help release muscle tension and prevent potential injuries.
A key factor to health and safety with any sport is maintaining hydration. Make sure kids drink plenty of water before, during, and after a sporting event or practice. Ideally, each participant should drink water every 15 to 20 minutes during play to avoid dehydration.
When a child’s head is hit during rigorous play, a concussion may occur. The brain is incredibly sensitive, which is why it’s important to know the signs and symptoms of a concussion. Pay attention if a player loses consciousness, shows poor balance, appears confused, shows abnormal changes in mood or personality, feels nauseous, states he or she doesn’t feel right, or falls down. Sit the child out immediately, and call your pediatrician.
Proper rest is incredibly important for those who participate in rigorous activities. This is particularly true for children, since their bodies are also spending energy on growth. Proper rest also helps prevent overuse injuries, making it easier for kids to continue playing their favorite sports for years to come. Additionally, kids need a regular break from sports, so designate one or two days per week as “sports-free.” Downtime gives muscles the opportunity to heal and adjust and allows the child time to relax.
Finally, be sure your child is playing with other kids who are of approximately the same size or weight, matching skill rather than age. This helps children safely handle impact against one another, if it occurs. Also, confirm all equipment and padding fits properly and is in good working order. Old, ill-fitting, or broken equipment can easily lead to injuries.
Keep these tips in mind whenever your child begins a new sport, and he or she is far more likely to enjoy the experience and want to continue to participate.