Sports Safety Tips
Sports are a fun way for children to get the exercise they need to stay healthy but they can come with great risk for injury. To ensure your child stays healthy while playing sports, follow these safety tips:
- Make sure your child receives a pre-participation physical exam (PPE) to help rule out any potential medical conditions that could put your child at risk of injury.
- Share emergency contact information and any important medical information with your child’s coaches, especially if he or she has a history of asthma.
- Conditioning and stretching exercises will strengthen the muscles used in play and increase flexibility to minimize risk of injury.
- Follow the safety rules in sports including those against headfirst sliding (baseball and softball), spearing (football), and body checking (hockey).
- Make sure there is time to warm up and stretch before each game and practice to help deter injuries, such as muscle tears or sprains.
- Teach your child the signs and symptoms of dehydration.
- Make sure your child brings a water bottle to every practice and game and encourage him or her to drink before and after sporting events, and to not wait until they are thirsty to drink water.
- Children should wear the correct sports gear and equipment and it should be properly fit for them.
- If your child is suspected of having a concussion they should be immediately sidelined. Once your child is evaluated by a medical professional they will determine if and when the child is ready to play again.
- Encourage your child to communicate any pain they may feel during games or practices to parents or coaches.
- Your child should have at least one day off from practices or games each week to allow their body to recover.
Jaime Venditti, State Coordinator, New York Health Works