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A parent's guide: Tips for preventing sports-related injuries

For parents of child athletes, practice sessions for sports such as track and field, baseball and soccer often herald the arrival of summer. But the warmer months also bring an increase in sports-related injuries ranging from bruises to broken bones.    

To minimize the risk of sports-related injuries, Randy Hill PT,SCS,ATC from Baptist Sports Medicine recommends that parents educate themselves and their children about ways to prevent them. 

“Every year, more than 3.5 million children under the age of 14 receive medical treatment for a sports-related injury,” said Hill. “Sports are a great way to stay active, but you need to be safety-smart. Many of the injuries I treat are preventable.” 

To keep young athletes safe on the field, Hill recommends that they get a preseason physical examination. Other tips include:   

  • Learn and follow the rules of the game. For example, if your child plays little league baseball, then make sure they abide by the pitch count rule for pitchers to avoid elbow and shoulder problems.
  • Wear sunscreen and stay hydrated during physical activity.
  • Know how to use athletic equipment.
  • Always wear sport-appropriate protective gear such as a helmet or shin guards.
  • Stretch muscles and warm-up before beginning strenuous activity.
  • If sick or in pain, stop playing and either rest or seek medical attention. Any lingering pain around a joint or along a bone needs to be evaluated by a physician or even a pediatric orthopedist. 

Last, coaches and parents should learn basic first aid in case an injury occurs. Hill suggests learning CPR, knowing how to recognize and treat heat illnesses and becoming familiar with the signs and symptoms of head injuries or concussions. Some of the symptoms of concussions are but not limited to headaches, nausea, dizziness, fatigue, sensitivity to light and sound just to name a few. 

For more information about Baptist Sports Medicine, please visit www.baptistsportsmedicine.com.   

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