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Sports Safety

Although many children love to participate in sports and their parents often want to encourage them as much as possible to engage in healthy activities, sports can also be home to many of the preventable injuries affecting children. While some of these injuries may be minor cuts and scrapes from which a child can bounce back relatively quickly, others are more severe problems such as traumatic brain injuries. Sporting activities have been linked to improved mental and physical health for children by teaching them to cooperate with others and improving their confidence and coordination along the way.

Various safety equipment and precautions can be critical in decreasing or preventing injuries tied to sporting activities. Since organized sports can take place in a variety of different formats and locations, it's important for parents to always be mindful of the steps that can help to prevent an injury from happening. Casual sports, for example, may take place in streets, backyards, or neighborhood courts but organized sports are more likely to happen at public parks, schools, and recreation centers. Ensuring that a child is always wearing the appropriate safety gear and is aware of the risks in the individual location in which he or she is playing sports can help to decrease accidents. Research conducted by Safe Kids shows that:

  • More than three and a half children younger than age 15 receive medical treatment due to sports injuries every single year.
  • The most common sports related injury for children was sprains.
  • The most common cause of a fatal accident tied to sports was a traumatic brain injury. Recreation and sports make up one out of every five TBIs in children.
  • More than 60% of the injuries from organized sport did not happen during games but instead happened during practice. According to a recent survey, up to one third of parents don't take the same safety precautions such as using safety gear when the children are participating in practice as compared with games. Being mindful of the potential risks is often the first step towards preventing serious sports related injuries but it is only a piece of the puzzle. The environment in which children play, proper safety equipment, physical checkups, supervision, and constant hydration are several of the factors that should be included in a comprehensive plan to prevent injuries for children while they are playing sports.

The treatment for various sports related injuries will depend based on the severity of the injury and the body part that has been affected. In any situation, it is important for a child who has been affected by a sports related injury to get medical attention immediately. Sometimes a child may try to downplay the severity of the injury or a parent may not suspect that it is severe until it is too late.

Some of the most dangerous injuries that can persist for some time without medical treatment include concussions because the adrenaline and shock of the experience can shield children from the two aspects of the injury. In other children, it may take time to develop the symptoms and then it may be more difficult to treat the problem. Traumatic brain injuries including concussions can be some of the most difficult injuries for doctors to treat as medical and academic research is still being conducted. While there are many different benefits associated with sports participation for children, both socially and physically, there are also serious downsides in the form of sports related injuries.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, for example, shares that more than 2.6 million children younger than 19 are treated in the emergency room every single year for recreation and sports related injuries. These unfortunately are also the most common cause of musculoskeletal injuries in children who are treated in emergency rooms. The vast majority of sports injuries may only include bruises and scrapes, however, spinal cord and brain injuries are at the other end of the spectrum. Strains, sprains, growth plate injuries and repetitive motion injuries can all affect children and compromise their health and wellbeing. If a sports injury occurred because of a negligent person or entity, you need to talk to a personal injury lawyer.

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