Did you know that nearly 775,000 youth athletes have to go to the hospital due to unorganized and organized sports activity? According to the CDC, hospitalizations for all recreational activities among children aged 5-14 total 3.1 million patients annually.

Sports injuries are common nationally, but you’ll never fully know when or how your child may get hurt while playing competitive sports or similar activities. However, it does help to understand some of the key preventive methods and techniques to reduce sports injuries and coordinate treatment:

Get an updated physical exam

In most cases, your child will likely need to get an updated physical exam before playing in interscholastic sports and similar activities. This exam can help identify any potential injury risks for your child such as increased health complications or physical exertion from certain athletic activity.

An updated sports physical is usually required each subsequent year for your child’s sports activities and can be performed at an urgent care center.

Provide/ensure your child has the appropriate athletic gear

The best way to prevent certain sports injuries is to make sure your child has the right equipment and gear for their respective sport.

Especially during contact sports, having equipment that doesn’t fit or protect the body properly can result in significant injury. Make sure to talk with your child’s coaches and athletic staff about any issues you may notice with athletic equipment.

Have a first-aid kit ready for any unexpected injury

Even though injuries affect millions of youth athletes across the U.S, you may never be sure if your child will be the one that experiences an injury. To prepare for the unexpected it may help to have a spare first-aid kit on you during an event.

Most contact sports for interscholastic leagues require that personal trainers and medical staff are there to perform first-aid and are efficiently equipped to address issues. But a personal first-aid kit may allow you to stabilize certain injuries if a trainer is not immediately available.

Make sure your child stretches and learns skills to avoid injuries

Stretching before an athletic event or sport helps to reduce several types of sports injuries including sprains, muscle cramps, and twisted/pulled ligaments. Athletes should set aside some time to properly stretch before their athletic events.

Additionally, certain skills may also help children safely avoid injury during certain activities. These skills include (but are not limited too) learning how to safely stop using skis or skates, making proper contact during a football tackle, and keeping your head up to prepare for contact during certain sports.

Use these prevention tips to make sure your child can safely and passionately enjoy their athletic activities!