Spring sports season is upon us, and that means soccer, basketball, and an array of other sports activities. It also means bumps, bruises, and bandages.

It’s okay to let your child play their favorite sport, but proceed with caution. Yes, your child will probably get hurt, but you can help minimize their injuries. These three techniques can save you a trip to the ER.

Play it Safe

Be part of the S.A.F.E. team.

  • Speak up. Believe it or not, your words on the playing field speak louder than your actions. If you see something you don’t like – speak up. That’s your right as a parent. One word can make the difference between your child’s safety and an injury.
  • Acknowledge. Let the coaches and other parents involved in your child’s activities know your safety concerns. When you acknowledge the possibility of injury, you put everyone on notice.
  • Formulate. A well formulated game plan pre-sports can mean an injury free game. Your child can participate in his favorite sport injury free. You can breathe a sigh of relief as well throughout the season if no injuries occur.
  • Engage. Engage other parents. If you rally the support of other parents you create a support system. A parental support system can be the first defense against the possibility of sports injuries. It is your best ally on the playing field.

Play it Smart

Be part of the S.M.A.R.T. team.

  • Set up a pre-injury plan. Plan ahead for bumps, bruises and broken bones.
  • Maximize your parental skills. Use your knowledge to minimize sports related injuries.
  • Arm yourself with information. Information is the key to safe, injury free play.
  • Realize accidents WILL happen. You can’t prevent all accidents, but you can prevent  the 80%  if prepared properly.
  • Take charge of your child. I’m not talking about being an over-bearing sports parent. Your child’s safety on the field is up to you.

Play it Simple

Be part of the S.I.M.P.L.E. team.

  • Stop trying to compete with other parents. Your child wants to play sports and have fun. A competitive parent can be your child’s own worst enemy. If you are pushy and over-bearing it can be an underlying cause of your child’s sports injury. Let them have fun, while you’re on the sidelines keeping watch.
  • Initiate a countdown to fun instead of a countdown to competition. Playing competitive sports can be a fierce game, even for a kid. It doesn’t have to be win or lose. It can be how you play the game. Kids don’t have to compete. Yes, I said it! They need to have fun. Fierce competition can lead to sports related injuries – injuries that can be avoided if you initiate a competitive free zone.
  • Manage your child’s time. Sports are competitive, but can be fun. It’s not all about competition. An overactive and tired child can become an accident waiting to happen on the playing field. He doesn’t have to play every sport available during Spring Break camps. Pick one your child really enjoys playing. If you become a time manager injuries are less likely to happen.
  • Play with your kids. They love it when their parents get involved. Get involved, but remember don’t become the over-bearing parent. There’s a difference between a concerned parent and a controlling parent. Have fun. Be part of the team. This is a great way to prevent injuries to your child.
  • Limit the amount of sports playing time. I can’t stress this point enough. Limitation of sports play is important to the well-being of your child. He has a lot on his agenda. Between school, homework, and chores, sport activities need to be limited to fit within his busy week. Limitations set boundaries. Boundaries create responsible children, and responsible children pay attention. If your child pays attention injuries may not occur. However, there is still the 80/20 rule in play. With limited sports time, accidents can decrease your child’s chance of injury.
  • Enjoy the sports. You can actually enjoy letting your child participate in sporting activities. Of course risks are involved, but if you minimize them you can enjoy watching your child kick a field goal, dunk a basket, hit a home run, or make a goal. It’s up to you.

Playing it safe is a team sport. Remember there is no I in team. It takes teamwork to keep your child safe in any contact sport. Have an injury free Spring Break and enjoy the game!