Sunday, March 10, 2013

Sports Safety for Our Children

Participating in organized sports gives children the opportunity to not only have fun with their friends but also help to keep them healthy.  Although sports are a great activity for children to engage in, they can put children at risk for sports related injuries.  Very physical sports such as football and lacrosse can put children as risk for injuries if they are not played properly.  As a parent I want to ensure that my child is safe at all times on the field, meaning that he or she is properly protected with all the right equipment and that they have been taught the correct ways to play their sport. 

In the last few years, the NFL has taken steps to improve the safety of the game.  They’ve implemented policies and certain rules to make the sport safer for their athletes.  In their efforts to lower the number of injuries for athletes, they have been focusing on modifying current rules while adding others. Most of these rule changes focus around the idea of defenseless players and big hits.  With the new rules changes, defenseless players such as kickers and receivers are protected from being hit late or being hit prior to having a second to gather their balance.  Also with the rule changes, defensive players are prohibited from hitting offensive players below the knee and also not allowed to use their helmet or facemask to make a tackle.  These rules developed to curb unnecessary roughness have proven to be effective in lowering the number of ligament tears, concussions and other common injuries that occur regularly in sports.

The NFL has taken their goal to improve safety for their athletes to the next level, expanding their advocacy to target younger athletes.  In a new campaign called the NFL Evolution, the league has developed educational initiatives to promote athlete safety and awareness among parents of young athletes who play contact sports.  Many parents are thrilled that the league has gone to such great lengths to promote safety among its athletes.

Concussions

A concussion is a brain injury that occurs when the head strikes an object with intense force.  This can result in short term problems like headaches and nausea.  Long term, the condition can lead to dementia, memory loss and hearing loss.  In some cases, athletes who have suffered concussions may be affected by severe hearing loss and be treated with a hearing aid to help with current hearing levels. Parents can protect their children by encouraging them to wear the right protective gear when they play football, hockey or other contact sports.  Children can also be taught how to use their bodies appropriately when hitting to prevent head injuries.

Ligament Tears

Ligament tears are another common injury in contact sports.  One of the most popular ligament tears in athletes is the ACL.  The ACL, which helps athletes maintain balance when running, cutting and landing, is crucial to protect and keep healthy while playing sports.  With a torn ACL, athletes are very limited in what they can do in practice and games, mostly due to the giving out sensation that often occurs when the knee cannot withstand the force being administered on it and it gives out. Playing sports with a torn ACL puts the athlete at risk for further injury. Athletes can perform training drills that improve power and balance.  They can also strengthen their muscles in their legs to help reduce chances of tearing their ACL.

Heat Injuries

During the summer months, while playing sports, children become more vulnerable to heat-related injuries like extreme dehydration or heat stroke.  Athletes need to remain hydrated; sports drinks and water should be accessible at all times, not only during games and practices but also throughout the day leading up to a sporting event.  Parents can also make sure that their children wear the proper light attire while practicing.

Parents should always seek medical attention in the event of a concussion, ligament tear or other sports related injury to make sure that their children are safe and able to heal properly.  Protecting children by taking preventive steps to lower injury risks create a safe and fun experience for all involved. 

Hi my name is John O'Connor, I am a father, outdoorsman, sports enthusiast and passionate about living a healthy lifestyle.  Check out my new blog at bloggingwjohno.blogspot.com!

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