The score bantered back and forth until about mid-way through the third quarter when the players began to fatigue. Slowly, the gap formed and our team fell behind by ten points. I knew the game was essentially over and my interest shifted to the players, the staggering difference in their heights and sizes (even though they were all the same age). As the last quarter wound up, the ball was thrown in random shots landing all over the court, fouls were frequent and falls increased. I began to think about childhood injuries and sports.
Injury with kids is as common as a mom kissing that “boo-boo”. Band-Aids covered with cartoon characters fill the shelves in drug stores attesting to the importance of covering that scraped knee with just the right “fix”. Most of these minor bumps and bruises are an understood part of childhood and simple steps can be taken to prevent serious injury from kid’s play.
The first and most important step to preventing injury is adequate supervision. A commitment to preserving safety for children, whether at a playground or on the football field, is mandatory by qualified adults. Coaches should be trained in CPR (Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation) with a solid knowledge in basic First Aid. Having someone with a medical background was common for my sons’ lacrosse teams and their skills came in handy on more than one occasions (fortunately for us, our “medical expert” was an ER physician).
Proper training and pre-game preparation is something not often overlooked and thankfully so. Injuries which can occur from lack of warming up are just as common with children as with adults. Taking that extra time to stretch out before a game saves those little muscles from trauma. Lessons in proper techniques go without saying – no one would send their child off to surf without first teaching them to swim. Investing proper training is an investment in the child’s safety.
Using the right equipment is another important step to maintaining safety with sports or play. Riding a bicycle or skateboarding without a helmet should never be allowed. In fact, I rarely see children on a ski hill without a helmet anymore – hats off to those parents! (pun intended)
Taking time to make safety for sports a priority keeps the game safe and kids out of the Emergency Room. Parents can make sure their little ones are able to enjoy the freedom of childhood play by acting responsibly and supervising for safety.