School is back in session for most students, which usually means participating in organized sports will soon begin. Whether it is baseball, football, soccer or cheerleading, high school or college, safety precautions need to be taken to avoid injuries for all.
It is estimated that 30 million kids and teens participate in some form of organized sports in the U.S. The number of injuries among high school students is estimated at 2 million injuries, 500,000 doctor visits and 30,000 injury related hospitalizations this year. For kids under the age of 14, the injuries are estimated to reach 3.5 million with a majority occurring during practice.
Each sport has its own safety gear. Football requires helmets, mouth protection and shoulder pads. In baseball, helmets are also essential along with gloves for grip and athletic cup protection. Whatever the sport is that your child chooses to participate in, be sure you are also ensuring that the proper safety gear is also being used. Strains, sprains and bruising are the most common injuries, many of which could be avoided by taking the time to stretch and limber up prior to playing the sport.
Coaches play a vital role in teaching each participant not only the rules of the sport but also the safety precautions as well. As a parent, it's important for you to get involved with your child’s activities and know that the coach is taking the precautions necessary for that particular sport. Stretching exercises and other warm-up activities are just as important as the safety gear itself.
Sports that make physical contact, such as football, obviously need to take more safety precautions. The athletes of today are bigger and faster, meaning the collisions can cause a lot more damage over time. Spinal cord injuries and traumatic brain injuries can affect your child's life into adulthood.
Sports Trauma and Overuse Prevention (STOP), a national campaign, aims to reduce the number of sports related injuries among our young athletes. Sports related injuries have reached epidemic proportions.
High school and college sports injuries occur all the time. Some more serious than others. Many you will never hear about on the news or read in the newspaper but to the families they affect, it is devastating.
One of the more publicized college sports injuries occurred back in 1985 when Marc Buoniconti, son of Nick Buoniconti, the legendary former Miami Dolphins linebacker, sustained a spinal injury during a tackle. He has been paralyzed from the chin down since. Over the last 20 years, he has been an inspiring figure, along with his father, on a mission to find a cure for paralysis.
No family ever wants to experience the devastating effects of this type of injury. Although, sports safety gear can't guarantee prevention of injuries, they are designed to reduce the risk.