Playing sports is a great way to stay in shape and it teaches kids and young adults about responsibility and teamwork. Unfortunately, it also can teach us the tough lesson of having to sit out of the game due to injury. While it is impossible to completely prevent or guarantee protection against an injury, there are definitely some smart things you can do to help prevent an injury, which is especially necessary when playing a contact sport. Let’s talk sports safety!
Wear Protective Gear
Walk into any sporting goods store and you’ll see a wide variety of protective equipment. Find out what is best to wear for your sport to keep you from getting hurt. Helmets are common and they can protect from head injuries while you’re playing sports like football, hocket, baseball, softball, skateboard, skating, biking, and many others. Make sure you are wearing the correct helmet for the sport you are playing. You definitely don’t want to wear a baseball helmet while playing football!
Other protective equipment includes mouthguards, elbow, wrist and knee guards, cups (for boys), and eye protection. You’ll also want to make sure you’re wearing the right type of shoe to protect your feet. You want them to fit well, and be specific to the sport you’re playing.
Always, Always Warm Up First
Stretching and warming up before you play is important. It’s never a good idea to just bolt onto the field and start play. You want to loosen up your muscles and get your heartrate up before you begin. Take a little jog and do some stretching before you get going.
Understand the Rules of the Game
Knowing the rules of the game can also prevent injuries. The rules are created to keep every player safe. This way you know what exactly to expect from the other players around you. For example, in soccer it is a foul if you come crashing into someone from behind. Understand the different plays and your role in each so you know where you are suppose to be and help stay out of harm’s way.
Watch Out for Others
Keep an eye on the other players around you. Communication between players can help prevent crashing into one another during a play. For example, if a ball is coming over the net in volleyball, and one player is behind another, one of the player should call “mine” in order to stop the other player from progressing further. Listen to the coach as well.
Don’t Play When You’re Still Injured
Most importantly, you should never play when you are injured. It can be tempting to jump back into the sport you love before you’re ready, but it’s a bad idea. Hopping in too soon can lead to an even worse injury and keep you out of the game for even longer. Stay honest with your coaches about your injury and see a doctor if needed. Follow their advice about how and when you should return to the game.