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How to Set Up a Safe Sports Program for Kids:
What You Need to Know
By Sally Johnson and Nathan LaFayette
Creating a new youth sports or recreation program for a local athletic league, recreation center, parks department, or community center is a wonderful and exciting prospect. This gives young children and teenagers the chance to experience the thrill and camaraderie of team sports, as well as remain physically fit and active.
One of the most important components in setting up a youth sports program is safety. The health, well-being, and safety of our youngest athletes – no matter what the sport – are paramount and must take center stage. Just look at a handful of alarming statistics: Emergency room visits for concussions in kids ages 8-13 doubled from 1997 to 2207, and concussions have skyrocketed 200 percent among children ages 14 to 19 over the same time frame, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. High school athletes suffer 2 million injuries a year, with 500,000 doctor visits, according to a December 2011 fact sheet from the National Athletic Trainers’ Association. Sports and recreational activities contribute to about 21 percent of all traumatic brain injuries among American children, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Additionally, athletes who have ever had a concussion are at an increased risk for another concussion. Although death from a sports injury is rare, the leading cause of death from a sports-related injury is a brain injury.
Given the nature of the injuries that can be sustained in youth sports, setting up safety guidelines for any new sports league must be established from the get-go. Here are some suggestions Continue reading