Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Avoiding Sports Related Injuries For Children In Winter

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It’s that time of year again. The kids are back in school, and after-school activities are starting to pick up. Maintaining an active lifestyle full of fun and challenging physical activities is important for fitness and physical development and also aids learning and concentration in other disciplines as well. The teamwork, social skills, self-control, and practice that goes into organized sporting activities also translates into more focused and dedicated students in the classroom as well.

As you pack your kids and their gear into the family taxi to shuttle them around to their practices, meets, games, and other sporting events, it’s important to also be aware of some of the dangers and indicators of sports-related injuries in your children. If you don’t want to end up in the emergency room this fall keep reading for tips on how to avoid sports-related injuries in your children.

The Facts:
  • More than 46.5 million children participate in sports each year in the United States.
  • One in three children who plays a team sport is injured seriously enough to miss practice or games.
  • More than half of the 7 million sports and recreation-related injuries that occur each year are sustained by youth between the ages of 5 and 24.
  • 1.35 million times a year, a young athlete suffers a sports injury severe enough to go to an emergency room or clinic.
  • Girls are up to eight times more likely to have a knee injury like an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) sprain or tear than boys.
  • Most organized sports-related injuries (62%) occur during practice rather than in games.
  • The most common types of sports-related injuries among children are sprains, muscle strains, bone or growth plate injuries, repetitive motion injuries and heat-related illness.
How To Stay Safe:

Wear the Gear
When children are engaged in active formal sports, ensure that they use the protective gear (such as helmets, wrist guards, knee pads, and elbow pads) that’s appropriate to their activity or player position. Additionally, during informal recreation activities children should always play in safe, level, open areas and wear their helmets and other gear, especially during activities such as in-line skating and biking.

Use the Right Stuff
Avoid hand-me downs that are pre-used, too big, or two small for your child. Never reuse a helmet that has been in an impact – whether that be from a fall or from just being thrown on the ground. Always be sure that the protective equipment is maintained correctly and is in good condition. Check the equipment often for cracks, missing pieces, broken buckles, and compressed or worn padding. Poorly-fitting or overused equipment may be uncomfortable and also fail to offer proper protection in case of an impact.

Warm Up
Be sure your children are safely and slowly increasing their activity levels to improve their overall physical fitness as the season progresses. Ensure that safe warm-ups are being completed before engaging in strenuous activities.

Practice Makes Perfect
Make sure that your children are learning the skills most relevant to their position and sport. For example, practicing appropriate tackling technique is important to preventing injuries to both player and opponent in football and soccer. Correct movement and alignment while engaging in repetitive motions also helps prevent injuries during baseball, softball, and many other activities.

Monitor Temperature
Allow time for child athletes to gradually adjust to hot or humid environments to prevent heat related injuries or illness. Parents and coaches should keep an eye out for signs of heat exhaustion and ensure that all the players are hydrated and appropriately dressed. Same goes for cooler temperatures – make sure children stay warm and appropriately dressed when not out competing on the field or in the pool.

Be a Role Model
Children often emulate their parents so make sure that you’re following your own advice. In addition to communicating positive messages about safety, make sure you’re serving as a role model for safe behavior including wearing your seatbelt, donning a helmet and other protective gear when engaging in sports activities, and following all the rules.

Don’t let kids get sidelined from their sports-related injuries: be aware of the risks that are common in their sport(s), watch for signs of injury, and try to implement safeguards wherever possible.

Author Bio
Janet Kozak is a passionate blogger who loves to write on different health related topics. She is a featured author at various blogs and a staff writer at Centracare.org, a Tampa urgent care provider.

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