If your child plays team sports, you probably already know many of the benefits that this experience can bring, such as teaching the importance of working with others toward a common goal, helping to maintain a healthy weight, preventing the risk of serious disease and gaining an improved sense of confidence. But there's also the risk of him getting injured each time he suits up and runs up and down the field.

Play it Safe

You may think that kids sports injuries are a common part of childhood. But while some injuries are unavoidable, many of them can be headed off with some easy, but important, preparation. Consider the following facts to help your child be a team player and at the same time, also play it safe.

Understand the Limitations

Children can be especially susceptible to getting hurt while playing sports because they are still developing their strength and coordination. In addition, a group of children all about the same age may have different abilities and be of very different sizes and weights. These variables can increase the risks for injuries. While these factors are out of your control, there are some things you can do to ensure a safe and positive playing experience.

Be Protective

  • Always look for equipment that has been certified as safe for the specific sport. (Don't use your bike helmet for football, and vice versa, since different equipment has different safety features.)
  • Protect all areas of your body from head to toe. Remember to include helmets, protective eyewear, mouth guard, athletic cup and padding as appropriate for each activity.
  • Make sure your equipment fits properly.
  • Maintain equipment as directed by the manufacturer to ensure it remains effective for the entire season and beyond.

Warm Up and Cool Down

  • Always have your child stretch and warm up before a practice or game and also cool down afterward. This can be an important to keep muscles limber.
  • Make sure your child knows the game rules so he will know where to be on the field and what to do.
  • Have plenty of water on hand and remind your child to drink periodically to stay well hydrated.
  • Apply sunscreen to any exposed areas of your child's skin to prevent sunburn or sun cancer risk.
  • Remember that taking periodic rests from intense play, especially on warmer days, can be important to prevent heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

Rest Injuries

If your child does experience an injury, it's important to get it checked by a doctor and make sure your child rests the area until it heals completely before returning to the sport. This will help prevent future re-injuries.




Kids Health/Nemours Foundation


National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases