Indoors or outdoors, practice or tournament play, a young athlete can be injured in any number of ways playing the sport they love. We don’t like to think about it, but some of those injuries can be a lot more serious than others. What we can say is that equipment and training for safety purposes has come a long way from a time not so long ago, which makes it incumbent upon coaches and parents like you to take advantage of the knowledge to put your kids in the safest sports environment possible.
Where Do You Start? A Physical Exam With A Doctor.
As a parent, take the opportunity to talk to a physician about symptoms in a child or your family’s medical history, which may provide insight into the risks that apply to the heart. Is the child fainting or experiencing shortness of breath or sudden chest pains? Are there any occurrences of sudden cardiac arrest in your family at an early age?
Coaches, even after this event, don’t be afraid to have a conversation with a child’s parent so that you also know of even minor health issues in your players such as asthma allergies. It doesn’t necessarily have to keep them off the playing field but it doesn’t take awareness off the table either.
Hydrate, Stretch, Rest And Recover – And Don’t Rush Through Any Of It.
Your players need a regimen before, during and after the game that hopefully keeps sports injuries to a minimum. Monitor their water intake and don’t offer it as some “reward.” If they need water, there’s a reason for it – it means their bodies require ample hydration. Without it, they could experience muscle cramping, shortness of breath, dizziness or even worse, life-threatening conditions such as heat exhaustion and heatstroke. Let the team access water stations and bottles near the field, taking as many breaks as needed.
Warming up the muscles in preparation for the game can’t be rushed. Make sure your players take the time to perform each stretching exercise and then do some light practicing to simulate game activities. This gets the body better acclimated for game play at full speed rather than coming in “cold” and encountering a strain or sprain that takes them off the field for an extended period of time.
The “rest” period between practices is crucial as it is needed for the body to recover after strenuous competition. If you’re going to hold a maximum number of practices, plan smart. Give your kids the time off they require so muscle tears and strains hopefully aren’t prevalent amongst your squad.
Educate For Safety To Prevent And Prepare
Injuries are a fact of life in youth sports, but they can be potentially limited if your coaching staff knows just what to do when the moment arrives.
- For minor injuries: A fully-stocked first aid supply needs to be in proximity to your bench and field. Don’t head out to practice or a real game without knowing if you have everything. Err on the side of bringing more items for safety versus bringing too little. Bandages, gauze, ice packs, antiseptic wipes and more are easy to transport to wherever you’re playing and practicing.Also, get updated on first aid training so you can learn how to best assess an injury, control a bleeding wound, bandage an area, make a splint and treat a burn.
- For even more serious injuries on the field involving a fully conscious player: Talk to SOS about our first aid cabinets that come fully stocked with a variety of first aid supplies to provide critical care until emergency teams arrive on the scene.
- For an unconscious yet breathing player: If you’ve examined the player and see he or she is breathing, begin administering CPR while someone calls 9-1-1. Get your coaching staff trained on CPR before your next practice or game – you never know if you need to use these skills and a “refresher” course for some of your coaches may be in order too.
- For an unconscious player who has suddenly collapsed and is not breathing: You may be dealing with a situation involving Sudden Cardiac Arrest, an electrical problem with the heart that may demand a shock through an Automated External Defibrillator (AED). Remember that fully functioning pads and batteries for an AED are just as important as the device itself for potentially saving a life and preventing another young athlete from becoming a statistic nobody wants.
Your Complete Sports Safety Plan Comes With A Partner.
SOS Technologies has been helping athletic departments, coaching staffs and the parents of players get up to speed on the latest in sports safety. You’ll learn how we bring a full gamut of equipment and training that’s personalized to your needs and budget. Don’t take chances. Make sure your team takes the field knowing you’ve addressed a great many variables for sports injuries that could occur, thanks to the help of one of our safety consultants at SOS. And we’ll be here to support you for every season after this one too.
To learn more, call SOS today at 888.705.6100.