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Young athletes—cheer them on to safety

April 03, 2015

Game time can boost a youngster’s social skills and provide plenty of fun, healthy exercise. But every sport poses some risks. As a parent, you can work together with coaches and your athlete to help reduce these risks.


Stay off the injured list—To help your child score in safety, consider the following advice:

  • ASK QUESTIONS. Learn what your child’s sports program is doing to prevent and respond to injuries, such as conditioning players and providing safety training for coaches.
  • SCHEDULE A PHYSICAL. A preseason exam from a doctor will help confirm that your child is healthy enough to play.
  • GET EQUIPPED. Depending on the sport, a helmet, body padding, mouth guards or shin guards, eye protection, and proper shoes may be needed.
  • PLAY BY THE RULES. From football to soccer, many sports have rules designed to prevent injuries. Make sure your child knows—and follows—them.
  • BEAT THE HEAT. Give your child a water bottle and encourage frequent water intake.
  • WARM UP. Encourage warm-up exercises before and cool down exercises after both practices and games.
  • DON’T DOWNPLAY CONCUSSIONS. Players with a concussion shouldn’t get back in the game until medically evaluated and cleared to play.
  • ENCOURAGE REST. Athletes need breaks in between seasons and during practices and games.
  • SPEAK UP. Teach your child to speak up if he or she is sick or hurt. And remember to check with your child’s doctor if you suspect an injury.