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Safe Kids & Sports Safety Week

April 10, 2011

Craig Goldberg photo attached

PROTECTING KIDS YEAR-ROUND; WHY SPRING SPORTS SAFETY IS A MUST

Safe Kids of Otsego County Offers Safety Tips & Community Presentation to Protect All Athletes this Spring

As Spring and temperatures increase, so does the amount of time that children spend outdoors playing Spring sports. This means that the number of injuries to children can also increase. Each year, more than 38 million children participate in sports in the United States and more than 3.5 million children ages 14 and under are treated for sports injuries. Experts say as many as half the injuries sustained by youth while playing sports are preventable.

Safe Kids of Otsego County is part of a national education campaign sponsored by Safe Kids USA and supported by Johnson & Johnson. The campaign is focusing on four areas which are critical to keeping young athletes healthy and safe: acute and overuse injury prevention; proper hydration before, during and after play; annual pre-participation physical prior to play, and concussion awareness, prevention, and screening methods.

Safe Kids will host a Sports Safety presentation Thursday, April 28, 6:30 pm at the Clark Auditorium, Bassett Medical Center, Cooperstown. It will provide information and best practices to keep young athletes optimally healthy and safe with emphasis on concussions and preventing them. It will be conducted by Craig Goldberg, MD, Attending Surgeon-Neurosurgery, Bassett Healthcare Network. Also on Thursday, April 21, during Sports Safety Week, there will be an educational exhibit on Sports Safety in the Bassett Clinic Lobby from 7:30 am – 4 pm. Resources will be available for anyone interested.

“Children ages 5 to 14 account for nearly 40 percent of all sports-related injuries treated in hospital emergency rooms,” said Rich McCaffery, a Community Educator with Bassett Healthcare Network and Safe Kids of Otsego County. “Our goal is to reach coaches and parents and equip them with the critical information and resources to keep kids out of the emergency room.”

Here are six important sports safety tips from Safe Kids for coaches, parents, and league organizers to use to prevent sports-related injuries:

· Pre-Season Medical Screening: These exams can detect any underlying conditions the young athlete may have and therefore prevent a potential medical emergency.

· Safety gear: To prevent injuries, children playing sports should have access to and consistently use well-maintained safety equipment during both practices and games.

· Qualified coaching: Athletic coaches should be trained in both first aid and CPR, have a plan for responding to emergencies and have current knowledge of proper hydration methods (and establishing mandatory breaks) and concussion prevention, recognition and response. Coaches should also establish safety guidelines that athletes, parents and coaches will follow.

· Proper Conditioning: To prevent acute and overuse injuries, coaches should teach young athletes proper routines for both warm-ups and cool-downs before and after practice and play. This can help prevent sports-related injuries (such as muscle tears or sprains) by stretching and releasing any muscle tension.

· Hydration: Athletes should be encouraged to drink fluids (water or sports drink) 30 minutes before the activity begins and every 15-20 minutes during activity. Coaches should establish mandatory water breaks during practice and games—don’t wait for the child to tell you he/she is thirsty.

· Rest: If young athletes are very tired or in pain, coaches and parents should encourage them to rest as this valuable recovery time can help prevent overuse injuries.

For more information on Safe Kids of Otsego County or on sports injury prevention in general, please Rich McCaffery at richard.mccaffery or call 547-5256 for receive a copy of the Safe Kids booklet Sports & Recreation Safety. You may also visit www.safekids.org/sports for additional information.

Safe Kids of Otsego County works to prevent unintentional childhood injury, the leading cause of death and disability to children ages 1 to 14. It is a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations dedicated to preventing unintentional injury. Safe Kids of Otsego County was founded in 2000 and is led by Bassett Healthcare Network.

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