Youth sports safety is a big topic these days.
So what can you, as a parent, do to address player safety? It starts with you joining with coaches, school administrators, and league officials. Here’s 11 ways to strive toward a safer game:
- Ask that coaches, parents and athletes meet before the season to set ground rules on the team’s approach to injury prevention.
- Request that athletes be taught proper techniques, strength training, warm-up exercises and stretching.
- Prevent overuse injuries by making your kids–and encouraging other athletes–to not just play one sport, but play other sports to get stronger and develop skills.
- Encourage your child and other athletes to speak up when they’re injured. Be sure that your child’s coach is removing injured athletes from play.
- If you are coaching, put an end to dirty play and rule-breaking.
- If you are an official, call fouls on plays that could cause injuries.
- Be sure your child’s coaches are certified in CPR and AED use.
- Be sure your child’s health information is instantly accessible during an athletic competition.
- Be sure that your child’s school has an athletic health care team. The team should consist of a physician, athletic trainer, school nurse or other health care professional and the athletic director.
- Spread the word. Talk with other parents and coaches about the importance of youth sports safety and these steps that can be taken.
- Take a written stand for safety. The National Council of Youth Sports encourages parents to write your elected representatives when you hear of a governmental issue affecting youth sports safety. Submit letters to the editor of your local paper to inform readers of the facts.
I talk a lot about how you can be a positive voice in youth sports, and part of that is speaking up for safety.
“We need to start the season talking about how we’re going to play safe, how we’re going to keep all of our kids in the game so that they all can play safe and strong,” says Kate Care, Safe Kids Worldwide president and CEO.
Will you start the conversation and then be the one to take action?
Janis B. Meredith is a sportsparenting blogger, podcaster, and life coach. She provides resources to help parents give their children a positive and growing youth sports experience. Her book 11 Habits for Happy & Positive Sports Parents is available on Amazon.