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Sports Safety Tips

Parents, Coaches and League Organizers – Check Out These Safety Tips:

Pre-Participation Physical Exam:   Every child should receive an annual pre-participation physical evaluation (PPE) from his/her doctor. This exam helps identify underlying conditions a young athlete may have and may prevent a medical emergency during a practice or game.

Conditioning: A good warm up before practices and games can reduce risk of injury. Start with a light run, jogging in place, jumping jacks or anything that brings the athlete’s heart rate up gradually. Then stretch all the major muscle groups, holding each stretch for 20 to 30 seconds.

Gear: Children playing sports should have access to and properly wear well-maintained safety equipment during both practices and games.

Hydration: Athletes need to drink fluids 30 minutes before the activity begins and every 15-20 minutes during activity. Don’t wait for kids to say they are thirsty. Making regular water breaks a habit will help avoid dehydration.

Concussion: Teach parents and athletes about concussions so they can also be watching for the signs and symptoms. A player with a suspected concussion must be sidelined until evaluated and released by a medical professional. The important thing is to protect players who have had a concussion from getting harmed again. A good rule of thumb: “When it doubt, sit them out.”

Rest: To help avoid overuse injury, make sure kids get a rest break during practices and games. It is recommended they get 1-2 days off from sports activities every week and at least 10 weeks of rest from any one sport each year. Playing different sports throughout the year is okay.

Emergency Response: Keep parents’ contact information stored in the coach’s phone or readily at hand in case of an emergency. It’s also a good idea for coaches to be trained in first aid and CPR.

Attend a sports safety course: Safe Kids New Jersey offers free Youth Sports Safety Clinic, providing information and best practices to keep young athletes healthy and injury-free. Check out our Safe Kids NJ events page to find sports safety events near you.