Tips to protect your child from sports injuries

With more than 38 million kids taking to the fields, and courts for youth sports the reality of the situation is there will be injuries.

But according to the Centers for Disease Control, more than half of all sports related injuries in youth are preventable.

According to the National Institutes of Health, about 1 in 10 children receives medical treatment for a sports injury most commonly sprains, concussions and breaks.

Here in Arizona the risk is higher because of the ability to play sport year round.

More than half of all sports related injuries happen during practice, studies have shown the reason for this is parents often do not take the same precautions they would for a game.

Dr. Jeffrey Vaughn, Phoenix Children's Hospital , says children's bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments are still growing which makes them susceptible to injury.

Because of this Dr. Vaughn says it is important to see a pediatric physician. They are trained with children's bodies and how they grow and develop, and will be better equipped to treat an injury without interfering with proper physical growth.

Sometimes children experience pain while they are growing, Dr. Vaughn says, their complaints always deserve careful attention, because some injuries, if left untreated, can cause permanent damage.

Dr. Vaugh also shared some smart and simple tips to help you keep your children injury free.

1. Take your son/daughter for an annual pre-participation physician evaluation by their primary care provider or a primary care sports medicine specialist.
2. Players should always wear appropriate safety equipment. Ensure proper fit and use of sports protective equipment.
3. Warm-up and stretching routines should always be done before games and practices.
4. Young athletes should always play against kids of a similar age and skill level.
5. Coaches and parents should never push children to play beyond their capabilities or force them to play when they're tired or in pain.
6. Aggressive behavior should never be tolerated.
7. Hold practice and games with adequate days off in between for rest and recovery.
8. Limit participation in sports to one sport per season.
9. Rest a minimum of two days per week.
10. Encourage year-round physical activity in a variety of sports.
11. Discourage sports specialization for team sports prior to high school.
12. Foster the development of good habits at all outings (practices/games) - supervised warm-ups and cool-downs with flexibility exercises.
13. Ensure that your children enjoy sports participation.
14. Stay hydrated, eat well and have good sleeping habits.
15. Don't forget to wear sunscreen.

For more information visit Dr. Vaughn's "Tips of the Week" at

Print this article Back to Top