Sports Safety

Every day, millions of children and youth participate in sports, and every year more than 3.5 million children under the age of 14 get injured annually playing sports or participating in recreational activities according to Stanford Medicine. The majority of these injuries occur during unorganized sports activities, and adolescents are likely to suffer more serious injuries than younger children because they play harder.

When young athletes sustain sports-related injuries, they can become injured more easily than adults because their bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles are still growing. Their growth plates – areas of developing cartilage where bone growth occurs – are also weaker. Often times an injury to a growth plate may be diagnosed as only a bruise or sprain.

Parents should know how to prevent serious sports-related injuries. Proper education, coaching, supervision and equipment can make the difference.

Safety Tips

  • Have your child get a physical for intense sports, such as basketball, football, hockey or wrestling.
  • Inform the coach of any medical conditions your child may have.
  • Verify that the coach has specific training in the sport he or she is coaching.
  • Make sure equipment is in good condition and is appropriate for age and size.
  • Make sure that there is a person certified in CPR and first aid who will be present for all games.
  • Have your child train for the sport before beginning to play.
  • Have your child warm up before playing and cool down afterwards to prevent muscle pulls and tendon ruptures.
  • Teach your child to know and play by the rules of the sport.
  • Don’t let them participate when in pain or tired.
  • Make sure your child knows how to use the equipment.
  • Make sure they wear protective gear at all times.
  • Give them plenty of water before, during and after playing to prevent dehydration.
  • Coat them with sunscreen and encourage them to wear a hat to prevent sunburn.
  • Know the four steps (RICE) of treatment for most minor athletic injuries. RICE stands for rest, ice, compress and elevate.
  • Have a doctor evaluate any child experiencing severe pain, swelling, bruising or decreased movement in a limb or joint.

MRSA Q&A Brochure (PDF)