Millions upon millions of kids play organized sports every day. They learn sport related skills and many life skills as well. They can also get hurt and in some cases, severely. Games that require repeated body contact, fast speeds with the possibility of collisions are usually the most dangerous. As parents who are both supportive and concerned, it can be hard to permit your son or daughter to hit the fields, courts, roads, and pools without the constant worry of an injury.
Let’s look at a few sports to understand better how they may adversely impact the health of our kids.
- When it comes to concussions, football and boxing take the blue ribbon for the most. Repeated head hits are dangerous at best, even if they aren’t serious enough to cause a concussion. That type of blow to the head repeatedly can still cause brain tissue to bruise and create confusion, memory loss and worse. Helmets and mouth guards help act as shock absorbers for our brains; however, nothing has been invented to date to prevent a concussion. Rules in place to protect against direct head hits help if the coaches and refs enforce the rules consistently.
- Bike riding, as simple as it sounds, causes more hospital visits than any other sport. While the injury numbers are beginning to drop, please make sure your kids are wearing the right protective gear, like helmets and pads.
- Skateboarding should require wrist and knee protection as well as helmets to help prevent wrist and clavicle breaks or fractures.
- For both boys and girls, basketball can lead to ankle sprains, breaks, and horrific ACL injuries.
- Baseball creates stress on arms, especially for the tiny players. Overuse is another common baseball injury.
- Summertime swimming in the hot sun and some private pools can cause heat strokes or bacterial infections. We suggest a pool watcher for the younger kids, proper fencing, covers on all drains and swimming lessons.
- Bouncing on a trampoline has always provided hours of fun for both kids and adults. Sadly, that fun bouncing can create spinal injuries, particularly with all those flips and somersaults. It’s not the school gym class trampolines; it’s the backyard playing that causes antagonistic impacts to fingers, elbows, hands, and forearms, plus leg breaks and ankle sprains. If you have a backyard trampoline, consider allowing only one child on at a time, and be sure you have protective netting to save the kids from hitting the ground. Adult observation is highly encouraged.
- Roller skating has been around for many years (since the 1700s), and over time, we have come to learn that protective padding and helmets should be worn when skating to help avoid injuries. Ankles, wrists, and elbows are the most communal areas of damage.
- Skateboarding isn’t as popular as it once was; therefore, the number of injuries is declining. A bit like skating, ankles, wrists, and knees are the most sensitive areas. Beware of extreme skateboarding.
- Ice hockey is another concussion threat and parents are encouraged to insist on face masks and rules that inhibit hits for younger children. Other risks include ice induced lacerations, groin pulls and torn ligaments.
- For the ladies, beware of soccer injuries. Girls are more inclined to harm in this sport than boys. Those head hits can be devastating to brains and necks. Additional strength training is recommended to help fight off added harm.
We were a wee bit surprised at this last sport that can be so dangerous. Cheerleaders are believed to be nearly 20 percent more inclined to injury than football players. Those air tosses look fun and easy; they can also create catastrophes that involve wrists, shoulders, backs, and ankles.
Encourage knowledge of rules, enforcement, protective gear always and you’re doing to best you can to keep your children safe. Do you have other ideas for safer play? Share your safety tip stories with us below!