By Victor E. Long, Esq.
What’s all the rage with young athletes this summer? Hospital visits. With more than 30 million children playing organized sports in the United States today, the opportunity for injury is on the upswing. Almost 1.9 million children under 15 years old were treated in emergency rooms for sports-related injuries in 2002, says the most recent information available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Another 2 million children were treated that year for less-serious sports injuries.
At present, there are several large-scale injury surveillance systems.
The National Athletic Trainer’s Association provides excellent, comprehensive, guidance and is highly recommended for anyone involved in youth sports. Their abbreviated guidelines are as follows:
• Develop a written emergency action plan.
• If there is no certified athletic trainer, train coaches, parents and officials in
first aid, CPR and AEDs.
• Make sure that athletes have their own water bottles and stay well hydrated.
• Develop educational programs for parents and athletes regarding conditioning,
strength training, hydration, nutrition, injury prevention and care,
fundamentals of the sport and rules, or see http://www.sportssafety.org.
• Plan a mock emergency to practice execution.
• Determine what to include in a first aid kit for the specific sport.
• On a regular basis, perform a safety check of the facility.
• Develop a sports/parent “code of conduct.” Always show good sportsmanship.
• Understand the fundamentals and rules of the sport and be supportive of
your child and the coach.
• Arrange a pre-season meeting for parents outlining the school’s or league’s philosophies and safety procedures.
For more information, visit the National Athletic Trainers’ Association