Sports accidents are a major risk for young people, especially as students head back to school and begin to participate in sports after a summer off. It is essential that coaches and athletic directors take appropriate steps to reduce the risk of injury to young athletes. Parents also need to be aware of the dangers that their sons and daughters face and ensure that they are making smart choices when it comes to participation in athletic events.
According to the National Athletic Trainers’ Association, there are more than seven million high school athletes in the United States. Elementary and middle school students also routinely engage in organized sports activities. In fact, there are around 40 million young athletes between ages 6 and 18 who play organized sports.
Unfortunately, there is always a chance that these young people could be seriously hurt as a result of sporting accidents. Each year, an estimated 8,000 visits to the emergency room occur because kids are hurt in sporting accidents. In addition, there are around 715,000 injuries among high school athletes.
A national study which looked at data from the 2012 to 2013 school year found that there were:
- 350,356 head or face injuries
- 211,526 ankle injuries
- 201,194 knee injuries
- 128,700 injuries to the hip or upper thigh
- 101,183 hand or wrist injuries
- 88,166 shoulder injuries
- 70,911 injuries to the trunk
- 53,144 lower leg injuries
- 47,474 foot injuries
- 31,772 neck injuries
Prevention of injuries is essential to prevent children from having potentially life-long or life-threatening health consequences due to participation in sports. The National Athletic Trainers’ Association has provided back-to-school safety tips to assist parents, athletes and coaches with reducing the risk of young players getting hurt. Advice includes:
- Ensuring that all players have a thorough medical exam, including an orthopedic evaluation, before they resume participation in school sports for the year.
- Having both parents and coaches conduct a physical and mental evaluation of a young person’s readiness to resume participation in a sporting activity.
- Checking all equipment and playing surfaces before practice or the first sporting event to ensure they are in good condition and that no problems have developed over summer break.
- Maintaining all equipment, playing surfaces and locker room areas throughout the sports season.
- Educating parents, athletes and coaches about the signs of concussion and ensuring that kids do not play if they may have a potential concussion.
- Developing a plan for the care of student athletes who suffer on-field injuries.
- Having an on-site defibrillator in case a young person experiences a heart attack during sporting activities.
- Developing a written emergency action plan that details the emergency supplies available and the role that people on staff will play in the event that an injury happens.
By following these tips, hopefully fewer young people will be hurt as they head back to school and resume playing sports this year.
If you or a loved one has suffered any kind of personal injury due to the negligence of another party, contact Metzger Wickersham law firm today for a free and confidential consultation.