It’s not unusual for youngsters to take a bang from time to time when playing sports. Bruises and knock can often be cured with a magic sponge, while something more serious such as a sprained ankle or a break will require expert medical attention.
American research into youth sports safety published last year found that more than one in three children in the country who are involved in team sports will pick up an injury that’s serious enough to prevent them from taking part in further practice or matches. Of all coaches surveyed, 70 per cent said a child on their team had suffered a cut or scrape, while 46 per cent said they had experience of a child picking up a sprain or strain.
Across the US, youngsters suffer an estimated 3.5 million sports-related injuries every year. Everything from football team insurance to rugby player insurance is available to provide support should the worst happen, but the main consideration for all parents is to prevent injuries. According to the report, everything from ensuring sufficient hydration to being proactive in avoiding overuse injuries and investing in the correct safety equipment can help to keep youngsters on their feet. But is it not better for children to avoid putting themselves at risk in the first place?
While there will always be risk associated with playing sport, the benefits are considerable. Through sport children learn to work as part of a team, they improve their fitness and boost their overall health. Regardless of the activity, sport can help to increase a child’s self-confidence, encourage healthy competition and teach them respect.
While a youngster competing in sport is always going to be at risk of picking up an injury, most parents would agree that the benefits to be gained far outweigh the risks.