According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, 3.5 million children and teenagers are injured each year playing sports and participating in recreational activities. Although death from a sports-related injury is a rare occurrence, it does happen, and the leading cause of death in childhood sports is the result of traumatic brain injuries. As parents, what can you do to protect your children from becoming part of these statistics?
1. Provide your child with the right equipment. Almost every sport requires proper attire and proper safety equipment. Whether your child is playing soccer, football, softball, or joining the wrestling team, make sure he or she has the necessary safety equipment such as helmets, knee pads, shin guards and the like. Tell your child how important it is to wear this protective gear at each and every practice and game, for his or her own safety.
2. Make sure the playing surface is well maintained. Whether your child is playing a school sport or in a community league, check to make sure the playing surfaces are in good condition. Do soccer fields have too many ruts or holes that could cause children to trip and fall? Is the basketball court wooden, rather than concrete? Are safety mats being used when necessary? Are trampolines secure and in a safe place at the gymnastics center?
As a concerned parent trying to keep your child safe, bring any surface or piece of equipment that is not up to standard to the attention of the director of the program. You may be saving many children from the potential for serious injury.
3. Take immediate action in the event of an injury. If your child needs medical attention, make sure he gets it as soon as possible after sustaining an injury, especially if it is a head or neck injury. Even if your child says he feels better, it is best to err on the side of caution rather than risking long-term effects of what originally seemed like a minor wound or bruise. Do not let your child return to the sport until a doctor has approved it.
Should the worst happen, and your find yourself dealing with both a medical and a legal conundrum, log onto www.maryland-injury-lawyer.com for sound legal advice about how to successfully make a personal injury claim on behalf of your child.
4. Choose qualified coaches and staff. When all the adults involved in your child’s sport are as committed to safety as you are, you can rest assured that all the necessary precautions will be enforced on the field or in the gym. Choose sports programs that have qualified, trained, and experienced coaches in your child’s specific sport. Does the coach have proper training in CPR and first aid? Inquire about the steps that will be taken if your child is injured under another adult’s supervision.
5. Warm up before each game or event. Stretching and warm-ups should be part of any regular practice or game day event in which your child participates. If you notice your little gymnast is not stretching before doing cartwheels, or your basketball star isn’t warming up her body before running up and down the court, bring it to the coach’s attention. Warming up the muscles beforehand can prevent many sports-related sprains and fractures.
With childhood sports being so popular in the United States, every parent and coach involved needs to do his or her part to keep our children safe. When you make safety a priority, your children will follow. This makes a more enjoyable experience for everyone.
Writer and armchair jock LaGeris Underwood Bell hopes this article gives parents guidelines to help keep their children safe on the playing field. When a sports-related injury does occur, she encourages them to turn to the legal team at www.maryland-injury-lawyer.com to help them secure the compensation their child deserves.