The Real Risks Of Youth Sports
Today I have a guest post by John O’Connor about the risk of youth sports.
Parents encourage their children to participate in team sports because it teaches them invaluable skills like teamwork and good sportsmanship. Although many children really enjoy participating in these sports, they can be at risk for developing certain types of injuries. Parents must take the necessary steps to protect their children as they participate in youth sports.
In recent years, injury prevention has been a focal point for protecting young athletes. The NFL has changed many of its rules pertaining to “big hits” to protect players. Some of the rule changes that the NFL has implemented are:
-Players are prohibited from using their helmet or facemask to hit another player
-A defenseless player, for example the quarterback, receiver, or kicker in the process of making a pass, catch, or kicking must be given a second to gather themselves before being hit
-Players are also prohibited from tackling offensive players below the knee
The few rules mentioned above, although they do not seem to be important, have made a significant change in the game in limiting the amount of injuries players suffer each year.
Children who participate in these contact sports, although at a different level also face similar injury risks. The NFL has taken sports safety a step further in launching the NFL Evolution to help keep children safe. The league has been working to promote safety in youth sports and educate parents on sports safety. Bringing attention to this important cause has been very welcoming by parents concerned about the safety of their children.
Some injuries are more prevalent than others. Concussions, heat related conditions, and ligament tear injuries are all risks young athletes face in organized sports.
A concussion causes a brain injury when the person strikes another object with considerable force. Symptoms like headaches and confusion are common in concussions. In rare cases, a person may experience memory loss or hearing loss. When the hearing is affected, the person may be required to wear a hearing aid to help increase hearing levels. Parents can protect their children by making sure they are wearing the right protective gear. Wearing the right size helmet and teaching athletes how to use their entire body when hitting are things that can be done to make young athletes safe.
The torn ligament is one of the most common injuries a young athlete can get when playing contact sports. When the knee isn’t stable, it isn’t protected by impact caused by shifting during running or landing. The athlete should be required to stretch properly before each practice or game and perform strengthening exercises to ensure adequate leg support while running. Flexibility is another important consideration; stretching prevents the muscles from becoming sore or tight.
Heat Related Injuries
The summer months are a great time for children to spend more time outside. The temperatures put children at risk for becoming dehydrated or sunburn. Heat stroke is another common injury an athlete may suffer. Most of these injuries are preventable. Dehydration can be prevented by encouraging constant consumption of water not just during games and practice but gradually throughout the day leading up to a sporting event. In the cases of sunburn, wearing the proper sunscreen with the right level of strength will keep the athlete safe. Lighter clothing keeps young athletes cool as they play as well.
Sports are a fun way for children to grow and learn life skills. As parents it is our job to be proactive in protecting our children at all times to ensure that they are safe while playing sports.
Hi my name is John O’Connor, I am a father, outdoorsman, sports enthusiast and passionate about living a healthy lifestyle. Check out my new blog at bloggingwjohno.blogspot.com!