Nine Ways to Prevent Sports Injuries

Whether the athlete in question is yourself or your child, check out these tips for preventing sports injuries!

  1. Don’t skimp on the gear. Look for (and spend your money on) protective gear that fits well. Ask someone at the sporting goods store to help make sure everything fits properly. Talk to your coach or teammates about the proper way to wear a helmet or mouth guard to prevent injury. Make sure your child understands the importance of protective gear!
  2. Speaking of helmets, you should be wearing one any time you are playing a contact sport or doing anything on wheels — biking, rollerskating, skateboarding, etc. The rim of the helmet should rest no more than two finger-widths above the eyebrows. The straps should form a V under your earlobes, and should be snug when you open your mouth. Extra pads come with your helmet to ensure a perfect fit.
  3. Learn about safety. Make sure that everyone on the team — coaches and parents too — know about safety. Help younger athletes “suit up” to make sure they are properly protected.
  4. Take practice as seriously as a game. Don’t be lax about safety during a practice session! According to Safe Kids Worldwide, about 62 percent of sports injuries happen during practice.
  5. Build up slowly. When you are just starting out with a new sport, you are more likely to suffer an injury. The more you practice, the safer you’ll be.
  6. Don’t overdo it. Overuse injuries can be more serious for children than for adults, as their muscles and bones are still developing.
  7. Get plenty of rest and eat healthy. If your body is ready to play, you’ll be less likely to end up injured.
  8. Set a good example! If parents play safely, kids will too.
  9. If you do get injured, give yourself enough time to heal. Repeat injuries are on the rise, according to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. In children, this can be attributed to specialization — playing only one sport can stress young bodies repeatedly. After an injury, wait until you are fully healed to return to action — tired and hurt muscles can lower reaction times and lead to a whole new injury.