ADVOCATES FOR SAFETY
6 Things You Need to Know Before Your Child Returns to School
1. Your child is more likely to be injured in practice than in a game
Studies show that 62 percent of organized sports injuries occur during practice1
What you can do about it: Make sure your child takes preparation for practice just as seriously as they do for competition – that means stretching thoroughly and hydrating properly.
2. Girls are just as at risk of concussions as boys, if not more
Girls’ soccer, basketball, lacrosse and field hockey have among the highest rates of concussion, showing that gender doesn’t matter.2,3,4
What you can do about it: Unfortunately, concussions, at some rate, are unavoidable when playing sports. As a parent, the best thing you can do is make sure there is an athletic trainer at each game or practice. These medical professionals can identify a concussion and take the proper measures to ensure your child’s injury is properly managed.
3. Playing multiple sports could reduce your child’s risk of injury
Overuse injuries, often caused by early age sports specialization, are responsible for nearly half of all high school sports injuries.5
What you can do about it: Encourage your child to play more than one sport and limit the amount of time devoted to a single sport to 16 to 20 hours per week. They may think specializing in one sport year-round will increase their chances of sports success, but some of the world’s most well-regarded college coaches and most successful athletes including longtime Met’s outfielder Curtis Granderson, think otherwise.
4. If your child has suffered an injury in the past, they are more likely to suffer the same injury again
Prior injuries, especially those that required surgery, increase your child’s risk of sustaining the same injury in the future.6,7,8
What you can do about it: Encourage your child to strengthen other body parts in order to lessen the load on those areas that have been previously injured (i.e. strengthen the opposite hand or knee), not only will they be safer, but it will make them a more complete player in the long run! Just ask Stephen Curry, who strengthened his hips in order to rely less on his injury-plagued ankles when quickly changing direction and, as a result, became one of the best players in the NBA.
5. Unless your school employs an athletic trainer, it’s unlikely that there is someone trained in CPR or first aid at your child’s practices
In a study by Safe Kids Worldwide, only 21 percent of coaches reported receiving CPR instruction, much less certification. The percentage of coaches who reported receiving instruction in first aid is even lower at 13 percent.9
What you can do about it: Earlier in this piece, you learned that 62 percent of injuries occur during practice, so why wouldn’t the same safety precautions be taken then as during a game? Lack of school funding and/or resources is usually the reason, but at the end of the day, your child’s safety should be just as important after school as it is during school where there is a nurse present in case of an emergency.
6. The mindset of “playing through the pain” is alive and well
In 2014, 42 percent of athletes reported downplaying or hiding the severity of an injury they sustained.10
What you can do about it: Knowing the signs of injury such as swelling or reduced range of motion can help you as a parent identify when your child needs to take a break from playing or seek medical attention. While it is no easy feat, you need to convince your child that in the long run they will miss less time due to injury if they follow the prescribed rest routine to its completion. William Levine, an orthopedic surgeon and head team physician at Columbia University, recommends that parents and students think of an ignored injury like a dartboard. “If the injury started as the center of a bull’s-eye, the injured zone has now increased two layers on your dartboard. And that zone continues to expand as you damage more and more muscle,” he said in an article by the Boston Globe.
1. PREVENTING SPORTS-RELATED INJURIES. (n.d.). Retrieved August 15, 2016, from http://www.safekids.org/preventing-sports-related-injuries
2. Marshall, S. W., Guskiewicz, K. M., & Shankar, V. (2015). Epidemiology of sports-related concussion in seven US high school and collegiate sports. Injury Epidemiology, 2(13). doi:10.1186/s40621-015-0045-4. Retrieved August 16, 2016, from https://injepijournal.springeropen.com/articles/10.1186/s40621-015-0045-4
3. Gessel, L. M., Fields, S. K., & Collins, C. L. (2007, October). Concussions Among United States High School and Collegiate Athletes. Journal of Athletic Training, 42(4), 495-503. Retrieved August 15, 2016, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2140075/
4. Broglio, S. P., PhD, ATC, Cantu, R. C., MD, & Gioia, G. A., PhD. (2014). National Athletic Trainers’ Association Position Statement: Management of Sport Concussion. Journal of Athletic Training, 49(2), 245-265. Retrieved January 29, 2016, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3975780/
5. Valovich, T., Decoster, L., & Loud, K. (2011). National Athletic Trainers’ Association Position Statement: Prevention of Pediatric Overuse Injuries. Journal of Athletic Training, 46(2), 206. Retrieved August 5, 2016, from http://natajournals.org/doi/pdf/10.4085/1062-6050-46.2.206
6. Burgess, E. (2014, February 13). The most dreaded injury for an Olympic athlete: Risk of ACL re-injury. Retrieved January 29, 2016, from http://healthbeat.spectrumhealth.org/dreaded-injury-olympic-athlete/
7. Shoulder Conditions and Treatments. (n.d.). Retrieved January 29, 2016, from http://www.nemsi.uchc.edu/clinical_services/orthopaedic/shoulder/shoulder_instability.html
8. Paterno, M. V., PT, PhD, SCS, ATC, Rauh, M. J., PT, PhD, MPH, FACSM, & Schmitt, L. C., PT,PhD. (2014). Incidence of Second ACL Injuries 2 Years After Primary ACL Reconstruction and Return to Sport [Abstract]. American Journal of Sports Medicine, 42(7), 1567-1573. Retrieved February 2, 2016, from http://ajs.sagepub.com/content/early/2014/04/21/0363546514530088.
9. Coaching Our Kids to Fewer Injuries: A Report on Youth Sports Safety. (2012, April). Retrieved January 29, 2016, from https://www.safekids.org/sites/default/files/documents/ResearchReports/Coaching Our Kids to Fewer Injuries A Report on Youth Sports Safety – April 2012.pdf
10. SafeKids Worldwide: Changing the Culture of Youth Sports Report- 2014 http://www.safekids.org/research-report/research-report-changing-culture-youth-sports-august-2014