Protecting your child from sports injuries

Published On: Oct 09 2012 02:10:29 PM CDT

By Bonnie Jacob, Pure Matters

Each year, more than 3.5 million children suffer sports-related injuries severe enough to require emergency-room treatment. Sports are the second-most frequent cause of injury to teenagers, although, after puberty, boys are more likely to be hurt than girls of the same age.

Any physical activity involves some risks, but injury rates are highest in high-impact sports. Baseball, basketball, football, soccer, and softball account for almost 40 percent of all sports-related injuries in children ages 5 to 14. Injuries become more severe as youngsters get older and play at higher levels of competition.

Ask questions

Whether coaches are volunteers, teachers, or other paid professionals, parents should make sure that the coaches are able to handle their teams safely, say experts at the American Sports Education Program (ASEP) in Champaign, Ill. Unfortunately, only a small percentage of volunteer coaches have any training in safety or coaching skills.

Before your children sign up for a sports league, these are aspects about the program you need to know:

Play your part

Even the best coach can't do it all. As a parent, you can also play an important role in making sure your children's sports experience is a safe and happy one.

ASEP recommends these steps: