Participating in sports is one of the most common extra-curricular activities, with more than 46 million kids participating each year. But with 62% of all organized sports-related injuries occurring during practices, it can be scary to let your young one onto the field. While you may not be able to prevent every injury, here are a few tips to help.

Stay Up-to-Date on Physicals

Staying on top of physicals for your child can ensure that there are no underlying health concerns before your young one steps out onto the field. School-aged children need to have a physical at least once per year, even if your child has seen a doctor for other reasons. These physicals are often required by athletic leagues and schools alike. Your child’s doctor will be able to raise awareness to any areas prone to injury, provide tips for safe playing, and voice any other concerns that may interfere with your child’s ability to participate.

Ensure Your Child is Vaccinated

Ensuring that your child is properly vaccinated will prevent various diseases from affecting your child and the other children around them. Children who are four to five years old are usually due for MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) immunization, varicella (chickenpox) immunization, and a DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis/whooping cough) immunization, alongside a polio booster shot. By age 11, your child is due for tetanus and pertussis booster shots. Besides this, HPV (human papillomavirus) and meningitis immunizations are highly recommended.

Stay Informed

This can include choosing safer equipment, teaching your child best practices, and knowing how to be prepared in case of various injuries. Here are some of the higher risk sports, based on the number of children between the ages of 5 and 14 sent to the emergency room for sports-related injuries:

  • Football: 215,000 children
  • Basketball: 170,000 children
  • Baseball and Softball: 110,000 children
  • Soccer: 88,000 children 
  • Ice Hockey: 20,000 children

No matter what sport your child is playing, ensure your child is best prepared for an injury-free sports season with these tips.