UH News

Bring on the Sunshine – Bring on the Sports

Friday, April 20, 2012

Cleveland – With the warm spring weather finally coming back to Cleveland, many children will head outside to enjoy the sunshine and play sports. Whether playing on a team or in the backyard, sports are great exercise. Some simple steps can help parents and kids ensure that an increase in the number of children playing sports won’t lead to an increase in the number of child in local emergency departments.

More than 38 million children participate in sports each year and approximately 3.5 million children under the age of 14 are treated for sports-related injuries. University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital and Safe Kids Greater Cleveland can help children, parents and coaches reduce the number of childhood sports-related injuries, most of which are preventable.

“We want to keep children active and playing sports,” says Mandy Thomas, Coordinator of Safe Kids Greater Cleveland at UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital. “Our goal is to reach parents and coaches to equip them with critical information to keep children out of the emergency room. Many sports injuries are preventable—and parents and coaches play a major role in protecting children.”

In observation of Sports Safety Week (April 22-28), UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital and Safe Kids Greater Cleveland offer these tips for parents and coaches of young athletes:

  • Pre-participation exams – before signing kids up for a sport, parents should make sure children get a general physical exam.
  • Conditioning – children should always do warm ups and cool downs before and after games and practices.
  • Gear – children should always wear appropriate protective gear for the activity (for practices as well as games) and gear should be the right size and properly adjusted.
  • Hydration – children should drink water 30 minutes before the activity begins and every 15 minutes during the activity.
  • Concussion – parents and coaches should be watching for signs and symptoms of a concussion if a child is injured during play. Go to RainbowBabies.org/SportsConcussion for more information. If you have questions about our sports concussion program or concussions in general, please call 216-844-3595 to contact one of our specialists.
  • Rest – to avoid overuse injury, make sure children get rest breaks during practices and games.
  • Sunscreen – children playing outside should wear sunscreen that is SPF 15 or higher.
  • Rules – teach children to follow the rules. In most sports, the rules are based not only on sportsmanship but on safety.
  • Overuse injury – teach children to never “play through” an injury and to get immediate help from a coach or trainer, being sure to mention everything that hurts. All coaches should have a plan for dealing with emergencies.

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