Six Tips for Serious Sports Injury Prevention in High School Athletes

Back to school means back to high school sports for a large number of students.  For many, practice and training starts before the first day of school.  Athletics provides many benefits to students beyond just physical activity.  However, there are some risks about which parents and students should be aware. The worst of these risks is a serious sports injury.

            1.  Concussions don’t just happen in football.  Cheerleading, basketball, soccer, among others are sports in which concussions are not rare.  Concussions can cause memory loss to young people and lead to neurological disorders latter in life.  All schools should have a policy dealing with concussions and play.  Check your child’s school policy and make sure your child’s coach is aware and following it.  Check the CDC website for more detailed information about policy for injury and prevention.  

            2.  Inadequate or improper conditioning can lead to injury.  Strains, sprains, tendonitis can all be caused by not being properly conditioned or warmed up.  Talk to your child.  Ask her what they do for training and warm-up. 

            3.  Almost every sport requires some type of safety equipment or gear.  Helmets in football immediately come to mind for many, but cheerleading, gymnastics, soccer, and more have equipment that must be properly used in practice as well as competition.  Over half of the organized sports injuries occur during practice. 

            4.  Is your child’s coach properly trained for that particular sport?  It is no secret that many public schools are short staffed.  Schools look for faculty that can coach and teach.  However, it is very important that they have been trained in the safety aspects of the sport.  A teacher that knows sideline, but not competition cheerleading, may not understand proper spotting and catching techniques.  Cheerleaders are thrown many feet in the air, doing multiple flips over a hard gym floor.  It is imperative the coach knows how to instruct the others to proper throw and catch her. 

            5.  If your child has a pre-existing medical condition, make sure the coach knows about it.  Of coarse, your child should receive a physical exam from a doctor that determines whether he is fit to play.  There are medical conditions that would not prohibit participation, but might require some accommodations.  Let your child’s coach know what problems could arise and how to address them.  If the coach is not receptive, take your concerns to the administration.  Children with type 1 diabetes, asthma, or sick-cell trait may be particularly susceptible to heat, for example.

            6.  Remind your student athlete to drink plenty of water.  Dehydration can really sneak up on a child or teen who is focused on her sport. 

            Approximately 8,000 children per day are treated in ER’s for sports related injuries.  Most are relatively minor, but some are serious sports injuries. There are also a number of catastrophic and death injuries every year in sports.  Keeping yourself informed about your child’s training, their coaches’ practices and experience, as well as the schools policies regarding injury prevention and treatment can help reduce the chances of injury. Hopefully you and your child will never need a lawyer but if you do you need a firm with a track record of results.

Gump & Faiella has significant experience in injury law and has recovered tens of millions of dollars for our injured clients. If you or a loved one has experienced an injury call now 1-800-264-3455 for a free consultation about your case. We will be happy to meet with you at our offices or in your home, and explain the legal process and your rights. At Gump & Faiella your case is our cause. 


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