Sports Safety:
Learn it. Share it. Go for it.

The Facts:

According to Safe Kids Worldwide, more than 1.24 million kids and teens ages 19 and under were seen in emergency department for injuries related to commonly played sports.  

How to Keep Kids and Athletes Safe While Playing Sports:

1. First, be sure your child has received a pre-participation physical exam prior to playing organized sports.
2. Keep you children hydrated and encourage them to drink plenty of water before, during and after play. Have a water bottle on hand at all times.  
3. Have your kids stretch before practice and games to release muscle tension and help prevent injuries such as muscle tears and sprains.
4. Consider having your child play multiple sports. This will help prevent overuse injuries  and create an opportunity for them to develop stronger skills in other sports.
5. Consider becoming certified in first aid and CPR and make sure your child's coaches are too.
6. Learn the signs and symptoms of a concussion and empower your children to speak up when they're hurt.

Concussion

A concussion is a brain injury often caused by a bump or blow to the head. Even what seems like a mild bump can be serious. Concussions cannot be seen and signs and symptoms may vary. Sometimes symptoms might show up immediately after an injury while other times they many not appear or be noticed for day or weeks. If you notice any signs or symptoms of a concussion, seek medial attention immediately.

Signs and Symptoms of Concussion

The child or athlete may:

  • Seem to be dazed or stunned
  • Be confused about an assignment or position
  • Forget an instruction
  • Be unsure about the game, score or opponent
  • Move clumsily
  • Answer questions slowly
  • Lose consciousness (even briefly)
  • Show behavior or personality changes
  • Have a difficult time recalling events prior to the bump or blow
  • Have a difficult time recalling events after the bump or blow

The child or athlete may feel the following symptoms:

  • Headache or "pressure" in the head
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Balance problems or dizziness
  • Double or blurry vision
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Sensitivity to noise
  • Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy or groggy
  • Concentration or memory problems
  • Confusion
  • Feeling of "being off"

For more information, check out this awesome video from Safe Kids Worldwide. It examines the issue of concussion in youth sports by interviewing leading experts, including Mike Ditka and student advocate, Brie Boothby, who shares her story about suffering a concussion with playing high school field hockey.  Concussions: Learn it. Share it. Go for it.