Do you know how much sports safety training your child’s coach has? According to a national survey by Safe Kids, a nationwide network of organizations working to prevent unintentional childhood injury, only 2 in 5 parents knows how much safety training their kid’s coach has received.
One in 3 American children, who plays team sports suffers injuries severe enough to require medical treatment, according to the survey.
Results also show how little parents understand about sports injuries and the recovery time needed to properly heal. Nine of 10 parents underestimate how long children should refrain from playing any one sport in order to protect them from overuse, overtraining and burnout.
Children need to take two to three months (or a season) away from a specific sport every year in order to avoid those problems, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine.
Most parents rely on coaches to keep their child safe while playing sports. But nearly half of all coaches said they have felt pressure to play an injured child in a game. Kids also believe that being injured is not a good reason to stop playing. 3 of 10 children think a good player should keep playing even when they're hurt, unless a coach or other adult makes them stop.
Even the well-trained coaches said they would like to receive more training. Costs, lack of time and local resources were the main factors given for not extending their training.
Other troubling results from the survey revealed that more than half of all coaches believe there is an acceptable amount of head contact during play without potentially causing a serious brain injury. It's difficult to tell the degree of head impact, however, and every precaution should be taken to protect children from head injuries, according to Coaching Our Kids to Fewer Injuries: A Report on Youth Sports Safety.
"The research findings are particularly alarming because experts tell us more than half of these injuries are preventable," Kate Carr, president and CEO of Safe Kids Worldwide, said in an organization news release. "There is a gap between what we as coaches and parents can do to keep our kids safe and what we're actually doing. With some simple precautions, we can change these troubling statistics and keep our kids healthy and enjoying the benefits of sports."
"Culturally, there's an attitude that injuries are a natural consequence of sports and that good athletes tough it out when they suffer an injury. But that attitude is hurting our kids," Carr noted.
The survey showed that about four of 10 parents underestimate the amount of fluids a typical youth athlete needs for each hour they play. In order to prevent dehydration, children require fluids every 15 to 20 minutes during physical activity.
So, how can parents educate themselves about preventable sports related injuries and safe practices?
Safekids.org outlines sports injury prevention and safety tips for parents and coaches on their website.
Being involved in various sports is a great way for kids to learn how to work together as a team, build stamina, learn leadership skills and have fun. You can’t guarantee a child won’t get injured, and most of the time injuries are not life threatening, but being better educated on preventable injuries can help parents, coaches and kids enjoy the games more.