Summer is right around the corner, which means kids are about to begin their lengthy break from school. Kids like to stay active during the summer, so many of them play sports for fun with their friends or as part of a community team. Playing sports can help kids stay healthy and meet new friends, but unfortunately, there are risks involved. It’s estimated that about 21% of all traumatic brain injuries suffered by minors are sports-related. If your child is planning on playing sports this summer, it’s important to know how to reduce their risk of sustaining a serious brain injury. Follow these tips to keep your kids safe:
Choose the Right Equipment
Children should always wear protective gear such as helmets and mouth guards when playing sports to reduce their risk of sustaining a traumatic brain injury. There are different types of protective gear for different sports, so be sure to choose items that are designed for the sport your child plays.
It’s also important to choose protective gear that fits your child properly. Helmets should be comfortable, but snug. The helmet should not move more than one inch in any direction when it is worn. If it does, this means it is far too big for your child’s head.
Mouth guards should have a minimum of 4mm of protective material covering the front of the teeth. The mouth guard should fit over the upper teeth and stay in place even when the mouth is not clenched tight. Taking the time to choose the right gear can keep your child safe while playing sports.
Make Sure Kids Are Properly Trained
Kids often sustain traumatic brain injuries as a result of inadequate training. If children don’t know the proper technique or rules of the game, they could unintentionally make dangerous plays that put them in danger of head trauma. To avoid this situation, make sure your child has been properly trained prior to getting in the game. If your child is not familiar with the rules of the game, encourage them to practice before they play.
Talk to the Coach
Parents should make an effort to talk to their kids’ coaches as soon as possible. Even if you attend all of your child’s games, you probably won’t be there to watch during every single practice. Because of this, it’s important that a responsible coach is supervising your child.
Ask your child’s coaches if they are familiar with the signs of a brain injury. If the coaches don’t know how to spot a brain injury, they will not know when it’s appropriate to take your child out of the game and call for help. Coaches should also share your concern for your child’s safety. If a coach seems uninterested in talking to you about safety, this is a red flag.
You should also find out if there are any procedures in place that outline how coaches should handle players with concussions. Ideally, there should be a procedure that involves taking the child out of the game immediately, notifying the child’s parent, and calling for help. The procedure should explicitly state that the child should not return to the game unless a doctor has cleared them to play.
Talk to Kids About Head Injuries
It’s possible that you won’t be around when your child sustains a sports-related traumatic brain injury. For this reason, it’s important for your child to understand the dangers of head trauma and what they should do if they are ever hurt.
Talk to your children about how head injuries are sustained. Make sure they understand that wearing a helmet does not completely eliminate the risk of suffering a brain injury. Then, explain the symptoms of a brain injury. Tell your children that if they ever experience any of these symptoms, they need to tell an adult immediately.
Teach Kids to Play Fair
Being competitive is not a bad thing, but if a child is overly competitive, this could increase their risk of sustaining a traumatic brain injury. In fact, it is estimated that one-quarter of concussions sustained by high school athletes occurred as a result of poor sportsmanship. Make sure your children understand that it is not acceptable to make overly aggressive or illegal plays simply because they are upset about something related to the game. Winning is certainly not worth the pain and suffering caused by traumatic brain injuries.
Some parents establish specific rules that their children must follow when playing sports. For example, let’s say your child has signed up to play soccer. You may want to tell your child that they are not allowed to head the ball during practice or games. Some studies have suggested that repeatedly heading a soccer ball could cause long-term changes in the brain similar to those caused by concussions. Based on these results, many experts recommend that children under the age of 14 never head the ball. If your child wants to learn this skill, suggest that they use a beach ball instead of a soccer ball.
Parents could also set rules regarding which sports their children are allowed to play. For example, the risk of sustaining a traumatic brain injury in a football game is high. Therefore, some parents may not want their children to sign up for this sport. Ultimately, the decision is yours. If you choose to set limits, make sure you sit down with your child and explain why you feel these limits are necessary. This will help them understand that it is in their best interests to follow your rules.
If your child has suffered a brain injury, contact Trial Lawyers for Justice today to schedule a consultation regarding your case. Our team of attorneys has the experience and legal knowledge to help you recover the maximum amount of compensation available.