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Ask an Expert - Preventing Children's Injuries in Sports

My kids are in lots of sports. Do we have anything we can do to prevent injuries?
Ask an Expert - Preventing Children's Injuries in Sports

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By Pamela Hansen, Ed.D., ATC,
Associate Professor /Athletic Training Education Program Coordinator, 
Department of Health, Nutrition and Exercise Sciences, NDSU

Kids play sports and are physically active primarily because it is fun. They have fun with their friends and meet new ones, they learn new skills and master current ones, and they like to win and have that feeling of being successful. Being active in a variety of sports helps the child be versatile in a variety of skills and prevents burnout.

A risk of injury comes with any type of physical activity. Injuries can vary from mild to moderate to severe, depending on the sport or activity and how the injury occurred. Nonetheless, preventing all injuries from taking place is impossible. Therefore, being aware of prevention techniques can aid in decreasing the chance of an injury occurring.

Having coaches, teachers and parents who are properly trained in first aid/CPR is imperative. No matter what the injury might be, this basic training can help the lay person learn basic skills to assist in recognizing and caring for an injury. Consulting a physician if you have questions or concerns about any type of injury always is important, too. If a serious injury has taken place, following return-to-play criteria established by  a physician is vital.

Other important prevention techniques:

  • Do pre-participation screening prior to start of sport season (yearly)
  • Stretch and/or warm up body prior to activity or sport
  • Use proper techniques
  • Wear equipment that fits properly, including shoes that fit correctly
  • Drink water as needed to stay hydrated, especially during warmer weather
  • Give adequate rest breaks for the body to recover
  • Follow the rules of the game
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