Baltimore, MD — US Lacrosse is partnering with Safe Kids Maryland and other organizations to host a media event on Monday, April 18 in recognition of Youth Sports Safety Week and Concussion Awareness. The goal of the event is to assist the media in increasing youth injury awareness and helping to reduce the more than 3.5 million injuries that occur in youth sports each year in the United States. Experts say that as many as half the injuries sustained by youth while playing sports are preventable.
In partnership with athletic trainers and other youth sports experts, this event hopes to arm coaches, parents, and league organizers with the knowledge and skills essential to help children properly prepare for a sport, prevent injuries, and play safely.
The event is part of a national education campaign sponsored by Safe Kids USA and supported by Johnson & Johnson. The campaign is focusing on four areas which are critical to keeping young athletes healthy and injury-free: preventing acute and overuse injuries; proper hydration before, during and after play; an annual pre-participation physical evaluation prior to play, and concussion awareness, prevention, and screening methods.
"Children ages 5 to 14 account for nearly 40 percent of all sports-related injuries treated in hospital emergency departments," said Safe Kids Maryland Coordinator, Cynthia Wright Johnson. "Our goal is to reach coaches and parents through these clinics and equip them with the critical information and resources to keep kids out of the emergency room."
Here are six important sports safety tips endorsed by US Lacrosse and Safe Kids Maryland for coaches, parents, and league organizers to use to prevent sports-related injuries:
♦ Pre-Season Medical Screening: These exams can detect any underlying conditions the young athlete may have and therefore prevent a potential medical emergency.
♦ Safety Gear: To prevent acute injuries, children playing sports should have access to and consistently use well-maintained safety equipment during both practices and games.
♦ Qualified Coaching: Athletic coaches should be trained in both first aid and CPR, have a plan for responding to emergencies and have current knowledge of proper hydration methods (and establishing mandatory breaks) and concussion prevention, recognition and response. Coaches should also establish safety guidelines that athletes, parents and coaches will follow.
♦ Proper Conditioning: To prevent acute and overuse injuries, coaches should teach young athletes proper routines for both warm-ups and cool-downs before and after practice and play. This can help prevent sports-related injuries (such as muscle tears or sprains) by stretching and releasing any muscle tension.
♦ Hydration: Athletes should be encouraged to drink fluids (water or sports drink) 30 minutes before the activity begins and every 15-20 minutes during activity. Coaches should establish mandatory water breaks during practice and games—don't wait for the child to tell you he/she is thirsty.
♦ Rest: If young athletes are very tired or in pain, coaches and parents should encourage them to rest as this valuable recovery time can help prevent acute and overuse injuries.
About Safe Kids
Safe Kids Maryland works to prevent unintentional childhood injury, the leading cause of death and disability to children ages 1 to 14. Safe Kids Maryland is a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations dedicated to preventing unintentional injury. Safe Kids Maryland was founded in the 1990s and is now led by MIEMSS and the Maryland Office of Emergency Medical Services for Children.
About US Lacrosse
US Lacrosse, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, is the national governing body for men’s and women’s lacrosse. US Lacrosse is the parent organization of the U.S. men’s and women’s national teams program. US Lacrosse has nearly 350,000 members in 63 regional chapters around the country. Through responsive and effective leadership, US Lacrosse strives to provide programs and services to inspire participation while protecting the integrity of the game. To learn more about US Lacrosse, please visit www.uslacrosse.org.