Sports provide tremendous social, emotional, and physical benefits. In fact, between 2003 to 2015, the number of people in all age groups increased their participation in sports. Returning to sports is an exciting time for athletes.
Whether you were out of sports events for an acute reason (like an injury or COVID-19) or have taken some time off since your last foray into athletics, it is important to ease back in slowly. The best way to get athletes back to the games they love is to prevent illness and injury. This article will cover how to minimize the risk of infections, overheating, and trauma.
Get the all-clear
Make sure that their healthcare provider clears them to return to athletics. Make sure your child gets a physical examination. If there are any relevant medical diagnoses, make sure their coaches also know and have appropriate emergency phone numbers.
Minimize the risk of infections
Most people exercise to improve their health, but sometimes being in close quarters with others increases the risk for infection. The most relevant current consideration is COVID-19. In these times, you should still follow COVID-19 restrictions.
Stay outside whenever possible. Playing sports outdoors is a great joy and will reduce the risk of passing the infection on.
Social distance. Remain at least six feet apart whenever possible- on the sidelines, during huddles, and practices.
Wash or sanitize hands: Frequent hand washing is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of any infection. Wash hands frequently.
Disinfect shared equipment. When sharing equipment, disinfect after use to prevent the spread of a multitude of bacteria and viruses. When possible, use your own.
Bring your own water bottle and refill it often.
Wear masks. Coaches, spectators, and coaches should wear masks when on the sidelines and in huddles.
Avoid travel and play against teams in your local area.
Sunstroke, also known as heatstroke, is the most severe heat injury. It occurs during exposure to high temperatures and is considered a medical emergency, so it is crucial to prevent it.
Wear sunscreen and reapply every few hours.
Remember to hydrate. Drink plenty of water before sports, stay hydrated, particularly in warmer weather.
Avoid overheating by paying attention to symptoms. If you experience headache, dizziness, muscle cramps, nausea, or vomiting, take a break in the air conditioning.
Listen to your body and know when to stop to take breaks.
When engaging in sports, there are often risks for injury from high-impact movements, overuse, and contact. There are some ways to minimize the risk of injuries potentially:
- Wear appropriate protective gear like helmets, shin guards, and mouthguards.
- Get plenty of rest.
- Warm up and cool down properly.
- Stretch gently.
- Listen to cues of persistent pain.
- Seek medical attention early.
- If physical therapy is recommended, follow through with rehabilitation.
- Ease back safely and gradually and only when thoroughly helped.
- Concussions can always occur- report confusion, headache, stomach ache, blurry vision, light, and sound sensitivity, feeling sluggish, and memory problems.
“sports…” by Quelle night… is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
The bottom line
Sports are fun, but sometimes illness and injuries can wreak havoc. Staying safe is the best way to ensure a healthy and happy season. By warming up properly, listening to your body, and maintaining proper hygiene, you can stay safe. These tips will decrease the likelihood of injury and illness. However, it may not prevent it entirely. If you do wind up sick or injured, seek prompt medical attention.