Preven­ting sports injuries

Issue: BCMJ, vol. 51, No. 5, June 2009, Page 217 News

“Each year at BC Children’s, we treat nearly 500 sports-related injuries, most of which are sprains and strains,” says Dr Ran Goldman, Emergency Department medical director at BC Children’s Hospital. Other injuries treated at BC Children’s over the spring and summer months include dehydration and heat exhaustion, fractures, repetitive and over-use injuries, as well as minor concussions.

BC Children’s offers these tips to help kids and teens stay safe while playing sports this summer:

• Children should participate in sports that are appropriate for their age, skill level, and physical development. Children younger than 8 years old are not as coordinated as older children and have slower reaction times. 

• Kids need to wear the right protective gear that is properly sized and fitted for them. A properly fitted and adjusted helmet should be worn when riding a bicycle, skateboarding, inline skating, or ATVing.

• Water should be available at all times during physical activity. The amount of water needed will vary depending on the child’s age, weight, the intensity of the activity, and the weather. Water is even better for kids than sports or energy drinks.

• Warming up is important before undertaking any physical activity, even for kids. This can be as simple as light jogging and easy stretches to raise the heart rate and warm the muscles. After sports, it’s best to walk around for a few minutes and do some stretching to cool down and get breathing back to normal. 

• If your child is sick or injured, it’s a good time to take a break from sports and exercise. Rest is important to healing and getting well. By returning too fast, there is a strong risk of re-injury.

• Sunscreen should be applied about half an hour before playing sports to avoid sunburn. Re-apply every couple of hours or even more frequently if swimming or sweating.

It is recommended that all parents and caregivers learn first aid to know what to do should a child be injured. Information is available from HealthLink BC online at or by calling 8-1-1.

. Preven­ting sports injuries. BCMJ, Vol. 51, No. 5, June, 2009, Page(s) 217 - News.

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