Your child might be the greatest quarterback this century or the next Magic Johnson on the basketball court, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t prone to injury.
If you thought your kid was invincible, you might be in for a rude awakening when you least expect it but why wait?
Injuries can happen to any child who plays sports, but there are some things that can help prevent and treat injuries. If you are a parent who has kids participating in a variety of youth sports throughout the school year, you can help prevent injuries before they happen. And if they do happen, you can also be well versed on how to treat little Joe’s injury.
The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases have some great tips that you can hang on a bulletin board or keep near the phone should something arise:
- Enroll your child in organized sports through schools, community clubs, and recreation areas that are properly maintained. Any organized team activity should demonstrate a commitment to injury prevention. Coaches should be trained in first aid and CPR, and should have a plan for responding to emergencies. Coaches should be well versed in the proper use of equipment, and should enforce rules on equipment use.
- Organized sports programs may have adults on staff who are certified athletic trainers. These individuals are trained to prevent, recognize, and provide immediate care for athletic injuries.
- Make sure your child has—and consistently uses—proper gear for a particular sport. This may reduce the chances of being injured.
- Make warm-ups and cool-downs part of your child’s routine before and after sports participation.
- Warm-up exercises make the body’s tissues warmer and more flexible. Cool-down exercises loosen muscles that have tightened during exercise.
- Make sure your child has access to water or a sports drink while playing. Encourage him or her to drink frequently and stay properly hydrated. Remember to include sunscreen and a hat (when possible) to reduce the chance of sunburn, which is a type of injury to the skin. Sun protection may also decrease the chances of malignant melanoma—a potentially deadly skin cancer—or other skin cancers that can occur later in life.
NAIMS says treatment for sports-related injuries will vary by injury. But if your child suffers a soft tissue injury (such as a sprain or strain) or a bone injury, the best immediate treatment is easy to remember: RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) the injury. Get professional treatment if any injury is severe. A severe injury means having an obvious fracture or dislocation of a joint, prolonged swelling, or prolonged or severe pain.