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Sports are fun — as long as they're safe

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More than 46.5 million children play team sports in United States. Sports become part of many children’s lives at a young age, providing them with 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 sports 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 concussions are suffered by children between the ages of 12 and 15.


  • Before playing organized sports, make sure your child receives a pre-participation physical exam. This can help rule out any potential medical conditions that place your child at risk.
  • Always bring a water bottle to practices and games. Encourage your child to drink 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 the 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
  • Feeling sluggish or in a fog

Safe Kids Worldwide
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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