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Sports Safety—Identifying High-Risk Situations

Sports can be played in an organized setting, at school, in the street, or even in the backyard. A child can benefit from sports both emotionally and physically. But the correct safety measures need to be taken when children play in a sport. This is because their bodies are still growing and their coordination may not be fully developed. Precautions can range from wearing the correct safety gear to having appropriate adult supervision and enforcement of game rules. To make sure that your child is playing sports safely, be aware of these high-risk situations:

  • Faulty or ill-fitting safety gear and equipment

  • Inappropriate skill, weight, and physical and psychological maturity level for the sport

  • No adult supervision

  • Not enough water or other fluids

  • Unsafe playing environment

  • Lack of enforced sports rules

A special note about sports-related stress

The pressure to win when participating in sports, a poor relationship with a coach, or frustration about never getting to play in games can affect a child negatively. Signs that your child may be suffering from stress related to a sport may include:

  • Loss of appetite

  • Vomiting

  • Headaches

  • Depression

  • Sleeping more than normal

  • Low energy and drowsiness

  • Withdrawn from friends, family, or activities

Deciding whether to take your child out of a sport should be based on what your child says and what you as a parent observe. Quitting may or may not benefit your child. On the other hand, "sticking it out" may also be harmful to your child. Winning should not be placed above learning and playing the sports. To prevent sports-related stress, the American Academy of Pediatrics advises the following:

  • Make sure your child is in the appropriate age and skill group for that sport.

  • The rules and playing ground should ensure that the sport is fair for all who play (such as lowering the basketball goal or shortening the distance of a race).

Online Medical Reviewer: Liora C Adler MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Marianne Fraser MSN RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Maryann Foley RN BSN
Date Last Reviewed: 12/1/2020
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