Injuries are a part of every young person’s life, and this is even more true when your child or teenager is an athlete. Unfortunately, some injuries sustained during a game or at practice can be incredibly dangerous. Sprains, broken bones, and spinal cord injuries are often the result of sports-related accidents. The good news is that most of these injuries can be prevented. In this blog, we’ll tell you more about how these injuries occur, how to prevent them, and when you may benefit from legal expertise from a personal injury attorney in Northern New Jersey.
Sports Injury Statistics
According to Stop Sports Injuries, each year over 3.5 million children under 14 years of age are treated in a medical facility for sports-related injuries. High school athletes are especially prone to injury, undergoing 500,000 doctor visits and 30,000 hospitalizations annually.
As kids get older and practices become more intense, injuries tend to become more severe and happen more frequently. The vast majority of sports injuries (around 62 percent), happen during practice. However, research shows that parents do not take these injuries as seriously as those that occur during a competition.
7 Injury Prevention Tips
Keep Kids Hydrated
Dehydration is among the most common causes of serious illness and injury among young athletes. Make sure to keep your kids hydrated before, during, and after practice and competitions, by having plenty of uncaffeinated fluids (ideally water) on hand. If you notice that your child is showing signs of dehydration such as fatigue, dizziness, headaches, or dark-colored urine, or cramps, insist that they take a break to cool off and rehydrate.
Encourage Warmups and Cooldowns
Warming up and cooling down are easy to skip when kids are eager to get on the field or track. However, warmup and cooldown routines are some of the best ways to prevent injury. Warmups allow muscles to warm up gradually, while cooldowns help muscles relax and can prevent soreness. Ideally, coaches should emphasize warming up and cooling down, but you can do your part by letting kids know it’s important. A combination of static and dynamic stretches (such as jumping jacks) is best for a warmup.
Kids who play only one sport intensively can suffer injuries due to repetitive motion of the same muscles and joints. Playing a variety of sports and activities will prevent overuse injuries. Getting your kids involved in more than one sport will also prevent them from becoming bored or burned out.
Remember Rest is Essential
Down time and sleep are both necessary to recovery after an intense practice or sporting event. Without sleep, muscles will remain fatigued, and this increases the likelihood of injury. Overuse injuries can also arise when athletes overtrain and do not receive sufficient rest. Longer periods of rest, such as off seasons, can be incredibly helpful in keeping young athletes healthy.
Provide Healthy Food
A nutritious diet that includes lean proteins, fruit, vegetables, and carbohydrates creates energy, helps muscles recover, and prevents injuries. In some sports, weight loss is emphasized and undereating can definitely result in injury. Make sure kids are eating healthy and eating enough. If you notice your child losing weight, take time to discuss it with them.
Invest in Quality Protective Equipment
If your child plays a high-impact sport like football, hockey, baseball, or soccer, having high-quality gear is essential. Don’t skimp on helmets, pads, and shoes–investing in good equipment is important to staying safe.
Seek Medical Attention Early
If your child complains of pain or is injured on the court or field, getting prompt medical care can make a huge difference. Even injuries like sprains will heal better with rehabilitation, which will also make future injuries less likely. If a serious injury goes untreated, the damage may be irreversible. If you notice your child limping, rubbing a sore limb, or other signs of pain, have a conversation with them and get them to a doctor as soon as possible. If you notice significant swelling, bruising, or bleeding, or if your child is confused after a knock to the head, the injury may be serious and prompt medical attention is especially important.
When to Seek Legal Help
If your child is injured and you feel that the injury was caused by defective sporting equipment, negligence on the part of a coach, or unsafe conditions they weren’t warned about, an attorney may be able to help. Serious sports injuries can require weeks or months of rehabilitation, which can be expensive.
If you think you may have a case due to the nature or cause of your child’s sports injury, Buttafuoco & Associates may be able to help. Get in touch with our personal injury attorneys in New Jersey today.