Chattanooga, TN – Safe Kids Greater Chattanooga Area, led by Children’s Hospital at Erlanger, will host a Sports Safety Clinic on Sunday, April 17, from 2 – 4 p.m. at the UT Chattanooga Stadium Club, located at Finley Stadium. This event is aimed at parents, coaches and athletes to increase awareness and help reduce the more than 3.5 million injuries that occur in youth sports each year. Experts say as many as half the injuries sustained by youth while playing sports are preventable.
In partnership with athletic trainers and other youth sports experts, the Safe Kids Greater Chattanooga Area Sport Safety Clinic will arm coaches, parents, and league organizers with the knowledge and skills essential to help children properly prepare for a sport, prevent injuries, and play safely.
The Safe Kids Greater Chattanooga Area Youth Sports Safety Clinic is part of a national education campaign sponsored by Safe Kids USA and supported by Johnson & Johnson. The campaign is focusing on four areas which are critical to keeping young athletes healthy and injury-free: preventing acute and overuse injuries; proper hydration before, during and after play; an annual pre-participation physical evaluation prior to play, and concussion awareness, prevention, and screening methods.
“Children ages 5 to 14 account for nearly 40 percent of all sports-related injuries treated in hospital emergency departments,” said Cindy Jackson, Safe Kids Greater Chattanooga Area Coordinator. “Our goal is to reach coaches and parents through these clinics and equip them with the critical information and resources to keep kids out of the emergency room.”
Working together with the National Athletic Trainer’s Association and their athletic trainers, Safe Kids Greater Chattanooga Area will host two Youth Sports Safety Clinics this year that will focus on. An additional clinic is scheduled for June 26.
Here are five important sports safety tips from Safe Kids Greater Chattanooga Area for coaches, parents, and league organizers to use to prevent sports-related injuries:
• Pre-Season Medical Screening: These exams can detect any underlying conditions the young athlete may have and therefore prevent a potential medical emergency.
• Safety gear: To prevent acute injuries, children playing sports should have access to and consistently use well-maintained safety equipment during both practices and games.
• Qualified coaching: Athletic coaches should be trained in both first aid and CPR, have a plan for responding to emergencies and have current knowledge of proper hydration methods (and establishing mandatory breaks) and concussion prevention, recognition and response. Coaches should also establish safety guidelines that athletes, parents and coaches will follow.
• Proper Conditioning: To prevent acute and overuse injuries, coaches should teach young athletes proper routines for both warm-ups and cool-downs before and after practice and play. This can help prevent sports-related injuries (such as muscle tears or sprains) by stretching and releasing any muscle tension.
• Hydration: Athletes should be encouraged to drink fluids (water or sports drink) 30 minutes before the activity begins and every 15-20 minutes during activity. Coaches should establish mandatory water breaks during practice and games—don’t wait for the child to tell you he/she is thirsty.
• Rest: If young athletes are very tired or in pain, coaches and parents should encourage them to rest as this valuable recovery time can help prevent acute and overuse injuries.
• Attend a sports safety course: Clinics such as those hosted by Safe Kids Greater Chattanooga Area provide information and best practices to keep young athletes optimally healthy and injury-free. Contact Cindy Jackson, Safe Kids Greater Chattanooga Area coordinator at (423) 778-6691 to learn more or to attend a sports safety clinic in your area.
For more information regarding the Sports Safety Clinic, please call (423) 778-LINK (5465).
For more information on Safe Kids Greater Chattanooga Area sports safety clinics or sports injury prevention in general, please call Safe Kids Greater Chattanooga Area at 423-778-6691 or visit www.safekids.org/sports.
About Safe Kids
Safe Kids Greater Chattanooga Area, led by Children’s Hospital at Erlanger works to prevent unintentional childhood injury, the leading cause of death and disability to children ages 1 to 14. Safe Kids Greater Chattanooga Area is a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations dedicated to preventing unintentional injury.