It’s football season and we all know what that means.
Not only is it the best time of the year filled with viewing parties and tailgating, but it also means there's a higher chance for our child football players to get hurt.
Just to give you an idea on how major this issue is, according to Health News Digest, children get treated for more than 3.5 million sports-related injuries every year. 13 percent of that, or 450,000, is from football alone.
But, don’t fret parents. We’ve got tips on how your child can stay safe during football season while still enjoying one of America’s favorite sports.
Football Safety Tips For Kids
- Determine whether they’re ready to play football. Your child might be excited to throw on the shoulder pads and hit the field head on, but if they’re younger than 6-years-old, it’s a good idea to hold off for a couple of years. Children at that age usually haven’t developed the motor skills, attention span, and balance for football. Tackle football isn’t recommended for kids younger than 10, so consider trying when they are between ages 10 and 12.
- While your child might be of age, a physical evaluation is vital before starting the season. Most schools require players to get a physical exam before they participate. If your child’s school doesn’t, speak to your family doctor to decide if your child is ready.
- Protect them with the proper gear. Young football players are put at high risk of hurting their hands, fingers, forearms, legs, and feet, and of course, getting a concussion. To help prevent these injuries, don’t skip out on the necessities like head gear, pads, helmets, mouth pieces, etc. Even when they do wear them, it’s essential the gear is put on properly to be effective.
- Double-check with the coach to make sure they’re teaching your child proper football safety. While no one wants to be the “annoying parent,” it’s better to be safe than sorry. Keep your child’s coach accountable to make sure they’re teaching proper techniques, conditioning, warm-up, uniform fittings and not playing the child past their capacity. Football is a collision sport, so a child learning proper hitting techniques will make or break their experience.
- Keeping your child healthy at home is an often forgotten way to keep them safe on the field. Make sure they stay hydrated, eat healthy, and exercise regularly during the off season (and on!) to help them be a better player in general.
Whatever you do, remember the child most likely wants to simply play to have fun! Even if they seem like the next Heisman winner or hall-of-famer in the making, remember they’re children and are more prone to getting hurt.
... play ball!