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Prevent school sports injuries

Basic precautions can reduce the risk of injuries during sports.

Many kids participate in school sports programs each year. Along with the benefits of teamwork and physical fitness, however, comes the risk of injury, warns the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS).

Younger kids tend to be a bit safer from certain injuries because they are smaller and not as strong. Older children may have more injuries as they grow stronger and faster and play more aggressively. Injuries don't just happen to kids who play football and soccer. Even no-contact sports such as cheerleading and cross-country running can cause injuries.

The AAOS offers these guidelines for parents and coaches to help keep young athletes safe from injury:

  • Make sure a trained coach is leading the sports program.
  • Make sure practices include warm-up and cool-down times, rest periods and water breaks to help prevent dehydration and overheating.
  • Enforce game rules and discourage dangerous or risky playing tactics.
  • Don't push kids too hard. Make sure they can handle the physical and emotional pressures of the sport.
  • Check that facilities are maintained and that protective equipment is in good shape, is used properly and fits well.
  • Make sure each child has a preseason physical.
  • Help children get in shape before the season begins. This helps prevent fatigue and injuries.
  • Watch for signs of pain or problems during games.

Reviewed 11/12/2020

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