Playing sports is a lot of fun. Getting hurt is not. Take these five steps to prevent injuries so you can stay in the game:
Let's find out more about each of these.
Protective gear is anything you wear that helps keep you from getting hurt. The gear you wear depends on the sport you play.
Helmets are the most common protective gear. They protect your all-important head while you're playing football, hockey, baseball, softball, biking, skateboarding, and inline skating, just to name a few!
Make sure you're wearing the right helmet for your sport. For instance, don't wear your baseball batting helmet when you're playing football! Your helmet should fit snugly but comfortably, and if it has a strap — like a bike helmet does — you need to fasten it. Otherwise, it will fall off when you need it most.
Other sports require eye protection, mouthguards, pads, wrist, elbow, and knee guards, and a protective cup (for boys only). And don't forget your feet. Cleats are worn in football, baseball, softball, and soccer. These shoes have special rubber or plastic points on the soles to help your feet grip the ground when you run around.
Talk with your parents or your coach to know what gear you need. Then wear that gear whenever you're practicing or playing.
It's not a good idea to just bolt on to the field and start playing. You shouldn't even start stretching until you're a little warmed up. So take a light jog to get loosened up and ready to play.
Traffic lights at intersections help prevent crashes between the many cars and trucks that drive on the roads together. This works because drivers know the rules and follow them — at least most of the time. It's the same way with sports.
When players know the rules of the game — what's legal and what's not — fewer injuries happen. You and the other players know what to expect from each other. For instance, you know that in soccer you can't come from behind, crash into a player's legs, and steal the ball. It's legal — and safer — to go after the ball rather than the player.
With sports that use plays, it helps to understand the plays and what your role is in each one. Being where you're supposed to be can help you stay out of harm's way, too.
Some rules don't have anything to do with scoring points or penalties. Some rules are just about protecting other people and being courteous. For instance, in baseball or softball, the batter can't fling the bat after hitting the ball and heading for first base. He or she must drop it so that it doesn't hit anyone. Likewise, a diver would make sure that the pool was clear before diving in. Otherwise, he or she might land on someone else.
One way you can watch out for others is to communicate on the field. For instance, a baseball player in the outfield might yell "I got it" to avoid a collision with another outfielder.
Listening to your coach during a game also can help keep you safe. It's also good to just be courteous, like telling someone his or her shoe is untied. Check your shoes, too!
This is a really important one. If you love sports, it's tempting to get right back in the game, even after an injury. But playing when you're hurt — or before an injury has had a chance to fully heal — is a bad idea. It can lead to an even worse injury, one that might sideline you for a long time.
Be honest with parents and coaches if you've been hurt. See a doctor for your injuries, when necessary, and follow his or her advice about how and when to return to practice and play.
Now you know what kids need to know about staying safe. Hopefully, if you follow rules 1, 2, 3, and 4, you won't need number 5. Or at least not quite as often!
Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date reviewed: January 2015
|Sports Illustrated for Kids This website features sports information for kids, including articles on famous athletes, games and quizzes.|
|American College of Sports Medicine This site has tips on staying safe while playing sports and exercising.|
|BAM! Body and Mind This CDC website is designed for 9- to 13-year-olds and addresses health, nutrition, fitness, and stress. It also offers games for kids.|
|Quiz: Baseball Injuries Do you know how to avoid injuries on the baseball field? Take our quiz and find out.|
|Why Exercise Is Cool Exercise can help keep a kid's body fit and healthy. Learn more about what exercise can do for you in this article for kids.|
|Taking the Pressure Off Sports Competition Sometimes sports competition can make kids feel pressure. If it's too much, a kid might not have as much fun as before. Find out what to do if this happens to you.|
|Winter Sports: Sledding, Skiing, Snowboarding, Skating You'll have more fun if you stay safe in the cold and snow. Find out how in this article for kids.|
|Sports Physicals If you play team sports, you may have had a sports physical. A sports physical is a visit to the doctor to make sure you're in good enough shape to play the sport you want to play.|
|How to Be a Good Sport Winning is more fun but losing happens to everyone. Find out how to handle losing - and other frustrations in sports.|
|What If I Don't Like Sports? Sports can be challenging when you're new to them, but they also can be really fun. Take a second look at sports - and learn other ways to be active - in this article for kids.|
|What Girls Say About: Sports Girls who like sports really like them - even more than texting or the mall. And most girls who say they don't like sports want to get better at them.|
|Eating for Sports Eating nutritious foods and the right drinks can help you perform better on the playing field. Learn how to eat for sports by reading this article for kids.|
|Nutrition & Fitness Center Want to know more about eating right and being active? This is the place!|
|5 Reasons Girls Should Play Sports Lots of girls love sports. Here are 5 more reasons to keep on loving them!|
What to expect when coming to Akron Children's
For healthcare providers and nurses
Residency & Fellowships, Medical Students, Nursing and Allied Health
For prospective employees and career-seekers
Our online community that provides inspirational stories and helpful information.