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Play it safe to keep sports fun

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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.

SAFETY TIPS:

  • 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.

SIGNS OF CONCUSSION:

  • 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

SYMPTOMS OF CONCUSSION:

  • 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
SOURCES:

Safe Kids Worldwide
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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