Five Tips for Children Sports Safety
For schoolchildren around the country, staying safe on and off the playing field comes down to healthy habits and smart choices.
Even the smallest decisions – such as eating a healthy lunch – can go a long way towards helping young athletes succeed.
Here are five tips to keep in mind when your child hits the field:
1. Sleep is Key to Sports Safety
According to some studies, teens need between nine and 10 hours of sleep per night to feel well-rested. Not only will getting enough sleep help your child focus in the classroom, it will help him or her avoid injuries on the sports field. Sports environments have fast-moving people, flying objects and dizzying speeds: not a safe environment for groggy children. Help your child get enough sleep by setting a sleep schedule and sticking to it.
2. Dehydration: Not Just a Summer Risk
Although children are more at risk for dehydration in the hot summer months, dehydration can strike at any time of the year. Help your child integrate hydration habits into every step of his or her day. Encourage your child to choose water over sugary or caffeinated drinks, which may leave him or her feeling depleted and even dehydrated.
3. Eat Right to Taste Victory on the Field
Along with staying hydrated, athletes perform best when they eat healthy. Fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as whole grains like oatmeal or brown rice, serve as the best and most nutritional snacks for your young athlete. A tip for success: spread out protein and limit sodium on game days.
4. Follow the Doctor’s Orders
If your student athlete was prescribed a medication by their doctor, it’s vital that they continue to take their medicine as prescribed during the season. Staying on top of any medications will not only help athletes feel their best, but play their best too. Don’t forget: check your kid’s bag before practice or games to make sure they have the medicines they need that day.
5. Rest to be the Best
Rest is just as important as practice, and it helps young athletes recover from strenuous activities. Equally important is embracing the rest periods within practice and games. Health professionals note that injuries related to overexertion are becoming increasingly common and can lead to pain and decreased performance on the field. Remember that while sports might have competition, in the end, it's just a game.
If you or someone you love struggles with affordable access to medicines, there are resources available that may be able to help: The Partnership for Prescription Assistance (PPA) helps connect patients with patient assistance programs that provide free or nearly free prescription medicines. For more information, visit www.pparx.org.