The beginning of the school year also means the beginning of fall sports seasons. I love fall, and nothing is more exciting to me than when all the fields are busy after school with the various teams practicing.
We have three children and have been a part of organized sports for over 15 years. During that time, they’ve played many different sports including soccer, basketball, baseball, softball, volleyball, swimming, bowling and rugby. Though they have had some bumps and bruises along the way, none of them has had a serious injury. We are thankful for the excellent coaching and league safety practices they have had through the years.
While you should always check with your child’s doctor before any sort of athletic participation, we try to do a few simple things to help minimize the risk of injury during the sports season.
First, I think it’s important to attend the team organizational meetings. This is a great time to hear the coaching staff’s views on safety and ask questions of your own about topics such as warming up, hydration, rules, activity level and equipment requirements.
Speaking of hydration, always send your child to practice and games with an adequate water supply no matter the outside temperature or the location of the sport. You would be surprised at how many kids I’ve seen over the years show up with nothing to drink at all.
When we have a child beginning a new sport, we always make sure they know the basic rules and objectives of the game. This keeps them from going into the situation totally unprepared and potentially causing injury to themselves or others. I also make a point to learn the rules myself so I know what correct play looks like. (Note: I’m still working on that with rugby, though. That may take a while.)
Additionally, I think having proper, up-to-date equipment is crucial to preventing sports injuries. If we are unfamiliar with the equipment required, we try to seek an expert opinion since the cheapest or second-hand equipment might not always be the best choice. I think shoes are especially important in most sports and we actively monitor the condition of them to help prevent foot, ankle, hip and knee injuries.
Sports are a great way for children to make friends, challenge themselves and stay fit. While there are many more positive aspects, sports do carry the potential for injury. Staying informed as a parent about league policies, rules and equipment will help get your child started on a safe and fun sports season.
Elizabeth is the author of Busy Mom Blog, and when she’s not at a kids sporting event or driving someone around, you can find her pleading with a disinterested pile of laundry to fold itself.