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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 sports. This is because their bodies are still growing and their coordination may not be fully developed. Safety steps include wearing the correct safety gear. And having adults supervise and enforce game rules. To make sure your child is playing sports safely, be aware of these high-risk situations:

  • Safety gear and equipment that's broken or the wrong size

  • 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

There are many benefits to playing sports. But sometimes sports can cause stress too. For instance, a child may feel pressure to win. Or they may not have a good relationship with their coach. Or they may feel frustrated that they never get to play in games. Signs that your child may be suffering from stress due 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  • Withdrawn from friends, family, or activities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. These tips can help prevent sports-related stress:

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

  • The rules and playing ground should ensure that the sport is fair for all kids who play. This may mean lowering a basketball hoop. Or shortening the distance of a race.

Online Medical Reviewer: Amy Finke RN BSN
Online Medical Reviewer: Eric Perez MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Tara Novick BSN MSN
Date Last Reviewed: 2/1/2023
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