Making the Team : Organized Sports
Amy Movius, MD
For many kids, the school year is not just about classes and grades, it’s about sports! Organized sports can be a great opportunity for kids to stay fit, make friends, and develop teamwork and discipline. Like most things, however, organized sports can be overdone and occasionally risky. Many childhood injuries seen in emergency rooms occur during sports, recreation or exercise. Likewise, physical competition can be liberating for some kids and a disabling stress for others. When deciding if a sport is right for your child, you may want to consider the following guidelines.
1. Does your child want to play the sport? Supportive parental encouragement in sports participation is valuable but pushing your child into something isn’t. Children usually don’t enjoy sports that they are forced to play and have limited personal investment in.
2. Can your child play the sport? Make sure your child can physically and mentally handle the sport. Children should undergo a physical before starting any sport to ensure that it is physically appropriate for them to participate, and if not, what sports might be a better fit for their strengths and weaknesses. A physical might also reveal a condition that doesn’t exclude them from playing but needs to be planned for, such as asthma. It is equally important to know how competitive the organization or league is. A sport that is very physically or psychologically challenging may be too much pressure for some kids.
3. Is the team ready for an emergency? Find out if the coaches are certified in CPR and first aid. There should be a first aid kit, medical history on the players with contact numbers, and a detailed emergency plan readily available
4. Know the policy for bad weather.
5. Make sure the play and practice environment is safe.
6. Ensure there are water breaks.
7. Get and use the correct protective gear.
8. Make sure they can sit out when they are in pain or too tired.
9. Encourage and model good sportsmanship. Cheer your kids on and encourage them to do their best. But if/when they lose you don’t take it too hard, chances are neither will they. After all, they are supposed to be having fun. 9-26