Safe Kids USA and Johnson & Johnson (J&J) are sponsoring a national education campaign on Youth Sports Safety, which builds on a national awareness program initiated in 2010. The goal of this campaign is to provide parents, coaches and league organizers the knowledge and skills essential to help keep children safe in sports.
Kids Sports Safety Week highlights the importances of not only safety for young athletes, but also how important it is for coaches and referees as "professionals" to identify potential injures and take proper steps to treat and prevent when possible.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 3.5 million children age 14 and under are treated for sports-related injuries each year, and as many as half of these injuries are preventable.
Parents are clearly focused on the topic of youth sports safety and have a strong desire for forums that will provide them with information. In addition, overwhelming majorities of parents report that their young athletes wear properly fitted equipment (88%), drink fluids regularly (85%), warm up before playing (76%), and take the same precautions when practicing as when playing in a game (73%), all significant increases from findings in a similar survey conducted a decade ago.
This summer, more than 100 free Sports Safety clinics will occur nationwide for parents, coaches and young athletes.
Dr. Angela Mickalide, MCHES, director of research and programs, Safe Kids Worldwide says:
"Parents and coaches have a very important role to play in keeping children safe and injury free. It begins with having the right attitude and realistic expectations for children about sports and then knowing how to help them prepare properly, prevent injuries and play safely."
Kids today often are involved in more than one sport with an increased focus on team play, but spending less time actually participating in each sport, while the number of these young athletes who have sustained multiple injuries while playing team sports has increased significantly, jumping from 15% in 2000 to 21% today. The most prevalent types of sport-related injuries continue to be sprains, muscle strains, bone or growth plate injuries and heat-related illness.
Sixty seven percent of parents believe that football poses the greatest risk of injury to their children, far outpacing hockey (10%), soccer (6%) and baseball/softball (5%).
Head injuries are very common in all of the above mentioned sports that chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) can easily result from. CTE is a progressive degenerative disease found in individuals who have been subjected to multiple concussions and other forms of head injury.
CTE has been most commonly found in professional athletes participating in gridiron football, ice hockey, professional wrestling and other contact sports, who have experienced head trauma, resulting in characteristic degeneration of brain tissue and the accumulation of tau protein.
High school football players alone suffer 43,000 to 67,000 concussions per year, though the true incidence is likely much higher, as more than 50% of concussed athletes are suspected of failing to report their symptoms.
Source: Safe Kids USA
Written by Sy Kraft