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Health & Wellness
Preventing Youth Sports Injury

October is the best time of year for a baseball fan.  Every member of my family is a die-hard Phillies supporter, so I’m constantly being updated on their progress.  While I’m not much of a baseball fan, this time of year does remind me of my short-lived, but eventful tee ball career.

Prepared with my new glove and bat, I was extremely excited to play for my local league.  I had spent too much time watching my older brother’s games, but now it was my turn.  Practicing was an important part of the game, but for a five year old boy, it could get pretty boring.  While waiting in line one day for my turn to practice batting, my mind began to wander and my attention was drawn away from my coach.  Out of nowhere, I felt a huge whomp on my helmet and I fell to the ground.

When I came to, I realized I had accidentally been hit in the head with a baseball bat by a teammate.  Once the tears had subsided, a visit to my doctor informed me that I did not have a concussion.  Without my helmet, I surely would not have been so lucky.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), more than 30 million kids participate in sports each year, and Safe Kids USA reports that more than 3.5 million receive medical treatment for sports injuries.  Safe Kids USA and Johnson & Johnson, a founding sponsor, are working to educate parents, coaches and athletes to help reduce the number of youth sports related injuries.  Most of these injuries can be prevented through education and awareness of the signs and symptoms.

As part of this initiative, Safe Kids is hosting an interactive webcast entitled “Preventing Youth Sports Injury: What Every Parent, Child and Coach Needs to Know” on Wednesday, October 27 at 7:00 PM EDT. The session will feature expert panelists who will explain how to spot overuse injuries, the signs and symptoms of a concussion, proper hydration and more.  Registration is required and can be done here.

Safe Kids offers some useful and important tips when it comes to sports injury prevention for your children, including these:

  • Have your doctor perform an evaluation prior to the season to determine if your child is fit to play.
  • Make sure your child completes warm up and stretching exercises before play to help reduce injuries like muscle tears and sprains.
  • Your child should have the appropriate equipment, and it should fit properly. 
  • Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!  Kids need to drink water before, during and after practice and games.  This prevents dehydration and heat-related illness.

For more information, visit Safe Kids’ online Sports Safety Guide.  You can find plenty of information to help your child play safe including common preventable injuries, facts on eye safety and how to play a role in your child’s season.