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How Much Do You Know About Children’s Sports Safety?

Young athletes look to adults for help preventing injuries. In fact, about a third of children said good players shouldn’t stop when they’re hurt unless a coach or parent tells them to, according to a survey from the nonprofit organization Safe Kids Worldwide.

But other survey results suggest adults often don’t know all the facts about injury prevention, which could lead to trouble for kids. For instance:
  • Nine in 10 parents underestimate the amount of time children should take off any given sport per year. Children should take a two-month break from a specific sport each year to prevent overuse injuries, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
  • Half of coaches wrongly think minor head injuries can’t cause serious brain damage.
  • Nearly seven in 10 parents allow their kids to play on more than one team at the same time. The National Athletic Trainers’ Association advises against this if practices and games occur on more than five days per week.
Parents Have a Job to Do
Nine of 10 parents trust coaches to keep young athletes safe. Yet only two in five parents know how much injury prevention training coaches have received.

Coaches, meanwhile, are stretched too thin. Nearly half say other responsibilities prevent them from focusing on safety. And although four in five believe it’s important to be educated on sports injury prevention, only half describe themselves as well-trained.

Smart Steps Keep Young Athletes Safe
Nine of 10 coaches knew one important fact: About half of youth sports injuries are preventable. Parents can help by:
  • Knowing the safety basics for their child’s sports
  • Watching for the warning signs of concussion. These include dizziness, vomiting, head pressure, and fatigue.
  • Asking coaches about their training and emergency action plans 
Download sports safety guides and checklists on the Safe Kids website, at www.safekids.org/safety-basics/safety-guide/sports-safety-guide/for-parents.

Last reviewed: July 2012

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© Krames StayWell 2012.