Kids are heading back to school, which means that kids are also about to start the fall sports season. The temptation is to push student athletes harder at the beginning of the year to get them in the mindset of being ready for a competition, but as many safety advocates are quick to point out, this could actually be hazardous to health. To prevent injuries, children have to be gradually acclimated to the more intense aspects of a sport.
That’s not all that can be done to ensure safety, however. Safety requires everyone involved with sports, including the coaches, the players, the parents, and the school, to take certain steps. Safe Kids Worldwide explains how on their website.
Preparation begins before the fall season even does. Many schools require kids to submit to a physical before they’re allowed to play, and parents whose children go to schools that don’t should put their kids through a physical anyway. In doing, any illnesses or medical complications will be revealed prior to participation in a sport that could exacerbate the issue. If your child does suffer from asthma or anything else that might imperil their safety during intense activity, you must speak with the coach so that you can put together an exercise regimen suitable for the child.
Much of safety will hinge on coaches not pushing players past their limits. Students are rather impressionable, and they’re also inclined to give in to peer pressure and pressure from adults. If a coach yells at a student or otherwise pushes them to work out without water or beyond what they’re safely capable of, that student athlete is put at risk.
Instead, coaches should have water in ample supply. Withholding water as a means to push athletes is not acceptable. Student athletes should be hydrated prior to, during, and after any practices or games. In fact, coaches must step in even if the athletes insist that they don’t need water. Many times, they could be covering up their exhaustion.
We know that equipment is important, but that goes for practice as well as games. Even light drills can benefit from the usage of helmets and other gear that can stave off the threat of an injury. Mouth guards and the proper cleats should also be insisted upon by coaches.
To protect themselves and the school from liability, coaches should have plans of action in place for various emergencies. If a player takes a vicious hit, for example, the right course would be to sit that person and check for a concussion. That goes for anyone suffering an injury; playing through the pain shouldn’t be an option.
Finally, anyone involved with youth sports should obtain CPR and first aid certification. A trainer and a first aid kit at the very least should be on hand for all activities, and additional safety training should be sought by overseers on a regular basis.