• Health
  • Parenting
  • Safety

Play it safe to keep sports fun

Teenage boy on soccer field

More than 46.5 million U.S. children play team sports. Sports become part of many children’s lives at a young age, providing valuable life lessons about teamwork, the importance of practice and how to win or lose graciously.

But more and more play means more and more serious injuries. More than 13 million children are treated at emergency rooms annually for sports-related injuries. An estimated 20 children an hour are treated every day for sports-related concussions. Half of those are ages 12 to 15.


  • Before playing organized sports, make sure your child receives a pre-participation physical exam. This can help rule out potential medical conditions that put your child at risk.
  • Always carry a water bottle to practices and games. Encourage your child to drink plenty of water.
  • Stretching before practices and games helps warm up muscles and avoid tears and strains.
  • Give kids a break from playing one sport year-round. Playing different sports throughout the year is fine.
  • Coaches should get certified in first aid and CPR and learn signs and symptoms of a concussion. Coaches can learn more about concussions from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Heads Up program.


  • Appears dazed or stunned
  • Confused about a play or position
  • Forgets an instruction or unsure about game or score
  • Moves clumsily
  • Answers questions slowly
  • Loses consciousness
  • Shows mood, behavior or personality changes
  • Can’t recall events before or after a blow to the head


  • Headache
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Balance problems/dizziness
  • Double or blurry vision
  • Sensitivity to light or noise
  • Trouble concentrating or remembering
  • Feels sluggish or in a fog

Safe Kids Worldwide
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

You May Also Like

    • Health
    • Parenting
    • Things to do

    BLOG: Local parks offer great way for kids to try organized sports

    From baseball and football to cheerleading and rugby, competitive teams can impart a range of skills and benefits that translate beyond the sport realm. Read on for details from ou …

    Read More
    • Health
    • Parenting
    • Safety

    Check out these gnarly skateboarding tips!

    More than 82,000 people are treated in emergency rooms annually for skateboard-related injuries. Here are tips to help prevent a trip to the hospital. …

    Read More
    • Behavior
    • Health
    • Parenting

    BLOG: How can I ease pressure on my child to be best in sports?

    Blog question: My son plays a lot of sports, and I think he’s a little burned out. But my partner keeps pushing him to work harder and be the best. I think it’s causing anxiety in …

    Read More

Related resources

    • Health

    Palm Beach County Medical Society

    List of local hospitals

    561-433-3940 Website
    • Health

    Palm Beach Pediatric Society

    Directory of Palm Beach County pediatricians

    • Health
    • Other

    Health Care District of Palm Beach County

    C.L. Brumback Primary Care Clinics — medical, mental and dental services at more than a dozen locations through the county, regardless of your ability to pay or whether you have health coverage, including for the homeless and migrant populations

    561-642-1000 Website
    • Health
    • Things to do

    Palm Beach County Parks & Recreation Department

    Manages 104 park properties spanning more than 8,500 acres, including 85 developed regional, district, community, beach and neighborhood parks

    561-966-6600 Website