The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons offers a useful Guide to Safety for Young Athletes.
While many reports lately discuss the growing trend of a variety of sports injuries for kids, the AAOS provides helpful advice on how to stay healthy:Fortunately, many youth sports injuries can be prevented. Some of the more effective ways to prevent these injuries include age-specific coaching, appropriate physical conditioning, and proper use of equipment.
In addition, coaches and parents can prevent injuries by fostering an atmosphere of healthy competition that emphasizes confidence, cooperation, and a positive self-image, rather than just winning.
Among their strategies for preventing youth sports injuries:
- Be in proper physical condition to play a sport (a pre-participation sports physical examinations can be very useful in screening for potential problems)
- Know and abide by the rules of a sport
- Wear appropriate protective gear (for example, shin guards for soccer, a hard-shell helmet when facing a baseball pitcher, a helmet and body padding for ice hockey)
- Know how to correctly use athletic equipment (for example, correctly adjusting the bindings on snow skis)
- Always warm up before playing
- Stay hydrated
- Avoid playing when very tired or in pain