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Governor Proclaims Safe Kids Week in New Jersey

Governor Chris Christie has called upon all residents in New Jersey to join with him and support the efforts and activities of Safe Kids New Jersey to prevent youth sports injuries by proclaiming April 23 through April 28, 2012 as Safe Kids Week.

New research from Safe Kids, supported by founding sponsor Johnson & Johnson, reveals one third of young athletes are sidelined due to preventable injuries.

Keep reading our blog as we continue to share sports safety tips and stories and promote safety as the key ingredient to the sporting experience.

Governor Chris Christie Signs Comprehensive Concussion Safety Bill to Protect New Jersey’s Student-Athletes

NFL Commissioner, Owners of NY Giants and NY Jets,  Former NFL Players, Legislators, Safe Kids NJ, Brain Injury Association of NJ and others join Governor Christie for Bill Signing Ceremony

Governor Chris Christie signed A-2743, legislation to protect and prevent concussions in student-athletes across New Jersey’s interscholastic youth sports programs. The bill adopts a multi-faceted approach, requiring the Department of Education (DOE) to develop an interscholastic athletic head injury safety training program to be completed by school physicians, coaches and athletic trainers of public and nonpublic school interscholastic sports programs.

“We’ve all seen the tragic results that can occur from sports-related concussions in both student and professional athletes. It’s our obligation and responsibility to put the health and safety of our children first, and use the best research and evidence to protect them in the most effective way possible,” said Governor Christie. “I’m proud to sign this forward-looking and comprehensive safety measure into law to ensure that the health and well-being of our young athletes comes first with increased education, awareness and prevention.”

The program that will be developed by the Department of Education will include the recognition of symptoms of head and neck injuries, and will address the appropriate amount of time a student-athlete must wait before returning to sports competition or practice after sustaining an injury. In addition, it will help ensure that school physicians, coaches and athletic trainers are properly trained to be able to identify a concussion as well as utilize the proper response during interscholastic sporting events. Each school district, with the assistance of DOE, will be required to develop a written policy concerning the prevention and treatment of sports-related concussions and other head injuries among student-athletes.  Currently, there is no uniform method of handling suspected concussions in interscholastic sports.

“We appreciate Governor Christie’s meaningful and proactive stand on protecting our young athletes by signing this comprehensive concussion safety legislation today,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. “By improving education, training and treatment, we can increase concussion awareness and work to prevent these injuries among our youngest athletes, not only in football, but in all sports.”.

Concussions are caused by a blow or motion to the head or body that disrupts the normal functioning of the brain and can cause significant and sustained neuropsychological impairments. According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 3.8 million sports and recreation-related concussions occur every year.

Sports Safety Tips to Keep Kids in the Game

Spring is officially here, and with the warmer weather comes many opportunities for kids to be active. More than 30 million kids under 14 participate in organized sports, and more than one in 10 ends up in the emergency room after suffering from a sports injury.

Whether your kids are elite athletes or just shooting hoops in the driveway, Safe Kids New Jersey has tips for keeping kids injury-free so they can stay in the game:

 

FIRST THINGS FIRST: Every child should receive a pre-participation physical evaluation (PPE) every year. These exams help with the prevention and treatment of any underlying conditions the young athlete may have.

Action: Parents, talk to your child’s doctor and ask them to perform the full Pre-Participation Evaluation. You can download a copy of the exam here.

BEFORE PRACTICE, PLAY OR COMPETITION: Warming up and stretching before play is essential. This helps athletes avoid injuries such as muscle tears or sprains by stretching and releasing any muscle tension.

Action: Make sure there is time set aside before every practice and game to warm up. This could mean a light run, jogging in place or anything that brings the athletes’ heart rate up gradually. Instruct the kids on how to stretch muscles and holding for 10-15 seconds.

HYDRATION: Hydrating well before, during and after practices and games is a must.

Action: Make sure your athlete drinks about 12 ounces of fluid 30 minutes before activity begins; at least 10 gulps every 20 minutes of play and every 20 minutes during the first hour after the activity to make up for fluid loss.

GEAR: Wearing the appropriate and properly fitted sports equipment can help avoid minor and serious injuries such as concussions.

Action: Make sure your athlete has the proper equipment to perform at his or her best—this may include helmets, shin guards, ankle braces, shoes with rubber cleats, and sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher.

QUALIFIED COACHING: Become properly trained and learn the sport-specific techniques that can prevent injury or illness that can occur.

Action: Establish safety guidelines that athletes, parents and coaches will follow such as PPE requirements, hydration breaks and ways to prevent or detect concussions and overuse injuries.

SUPPORTIVE PARENTING: Learn how you can help your child stay injury-free and optimally healthy.

Action: Make sure the child receives a PPE by their doctor, encourage hydration before and after the game and learning about the signs and symptoms of a concussion are just a few critical action steps you can take.

Parents, share the Safe Sports Tip Sheet and visit Safe Kids USA to take the Sports Safety Pledge.

Find a Safe Kids New Jersey sports safety event near you.

Get Ahead in the Game – Prevent Concussions: Former Philadelphia Flyer Primeau Shares Concussion Experience

Safe Kids Atlantic/Cape May together with Atlanticare Health Services hosted a sports injury prevention clinic, Get Ahead in the Game – Prevent Concussions, for coaches, athletic trainers, parents and children recently to focus on injury risks associated with ice hockey and lacrosse. 

Former Philadelphia Flyer Keith Primeau discussed a player’s perspective of safety and importance of using correctly fitted, appropriate helmets to prevent concussions in sports.  Primeau retired in 2006 after suffering the most severe concussion in a series of head injuries, ending his 14 year NHL career.

Coaches, athletic trainers, nurses and parents listen intently as Keith Primeau speaks about his experience with multiple concussions, which eventually ended his career with the Philadelphia Flyers.

Given that more than 30 million children nationally participate in sports each year, and over 3.5 million receive medical treatment due to sports injuries, Safe Kids New Jersey believes that youth sports safety is a challenge worth facing.  Watch for more to come from Safe Kids in the upcoming months on sports injury prevention.

At the event, David Cane from Cascade (a manufacturer of sports helmets) demonstrated proper helmet fit for lacrosse and ice hockey: