Extracurricular sports have long been considered an asset in child development. Participating in school or recreational league sporting activities helps your child to build character and learn teamwork, increases their confidence and agility, and ensures they get the exercise they need each day. While there is so much to gain from being involved in youth sporting programs, it is also important for parents to be aware of the potential dangers and risks their child could end up being exposed to. Sports-related injuries sideline millions of children each year, and these injuries have the potential to be severe and life threatening. As you encourage your child’s involvement in team sports, knowing the potential dangers and how you can better protect your child from injury can ensure their safety both on and off the field.
Common Types of Sports Injuries
Over 30 million children in the United States participate in some type of school-sponsored or recreational sport. Beginning as early as preschool, parents sign their children up for lessons and get them involved in ‘midget’ leagues for t-ball and little league, football, soccer, hockey, tennis, skiing, golf, swimming and track. Some of these sports are more dangerous than others, such as contact sports that involve running into other players, or sports such as baseball or golf, which can be dangerous if your child is hit with a ball. The fact is that any sport has the potential to cause damage, and over 3.5 million children under the age of 14 are injured each year as the result. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, one of the leading research hospitals in the country, most sports injuries are either due to some sort of trauma, such as getting tackled or hit with a ball, or are the result of tissue damage due to overuse. Common types of sports injuries include:
- Contusions and lacerations;
- Muscle sprains;
- Strained or torn ligaments;
- Broken bones;
- Dislocated joints; and
- Traumatic injuries, such as concussions and spinal cord injuries.
Preventing Sports Injuries
While there are many benefits to encouraging your child to participate in sports, it is important for parents to make sure their children stay safe while doing so. While coaching and recreational staff and school administrators bear some responsibility for ensuring your child is safe while playing sports, parents are their children’s best advocate. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the following tips to prevent sports injuries:
- Wear the right gear, including helmets, pads, and chin guards;
- Do conditioning exercises to strengthen muscles;
- Be sure and stretch before playing sports to increase flexibility;
- Take appropriate rest periods;
- Drink plenty of fluids before, during, and after play; and
- Follow safety rules and use the proper techniques. Discourage rough play, and penalize players who endanger others by removing them from play.
Oftentimes, coaches and even other parents will encourage a child to continue playing despite an injury. Children should not ‘play through’ an injury. If they are in pain, get medical treatment immediately. Do not allow your child to resume playing until they are cleared by your doctor.
Contact Our Experienced Florida Personal Injury Attorneys
If your child suffers a sports-related injury, contact our experienced Florida personal injury and accident attorneys. At Hogan Frick, our attorneys can help you hold responsible parties accountable for your child’s injuries. We have offices in Orlando, Gainesville, Ocala, Kissimmee, and Lakeland. Reach out to us today for a consultation.