Sports and recreation safety
More children are competing in sports than ever before. They benefit children and adolescents socially, emotionally and physically, and it keeps them doing what love best, playing. One of the worst things for a child is to be on the sideline with an injury. As parents and coaches, there are simple things we can do to help reduce injuries and keep our children playing the sports they love.
The hard facts
More than 3.5 million kids under age 14 receive medical treatment for sports injuries each year. As children grow, so does the risk of a sports-related injury. High school athletes account for an estimated 2 million injuries, 500,000 doctor visits and 30,000 hospitalizations each year. Nearly half of all sports injuries are from overuse or overexertion and can be easily avoided with proper rest.
- Take time off. Plan at least one day off per week to allow your child's body to rest and recuperate. Resting is just as important as exercising.
- Always stretch and warm up prior to activity. Stretching gives the body flexibility and helps reduce injury. The warm-up helps blood flow to all the muscles and loosens them up for activity.
- Keep kids hydrated before, during and after sports and recreational activities. Dehydration can cause fatigue and cramps and can adversely effect your child's ability to play and recover.
- Make sure young athletes are wearing appropriate and well-fitted safety equipment such as helmets, mouth guards, sunscreen and proper shoes.
- Have a plan in place in case of an injury or emergency. It is the first step to being prepared.
To learn more about sports and recreation safety, check out our literature:
Healthy Eyes Brochure (PDF, 315 KB)
Sports and Recreation Fact Sheet (PDF, 301 KB)