The start of the school year also is the start of the sports season for most school age children. Tuition costs and the cost for supplies, clothes, food, and gas may have parents short on cash when it comes to sports equipment for their child. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when thinking about how to get your child ready for the sports season.
First, discuss with your child what he or she really enjoys about sports and which sports he or she likes the best. In todays economy, it might be necessary for children to decide on one sport instead of three or four. It is far better to be able to provide safe equipment for the one sport the child enjoys the most than to go the cheap route for equipment on 3 or 4 sports and have an injury occur. Medical costs can run into the thousands even for a severe sprain.
Equipment should be sport specific, properly fitting, and include proper safety gear for each sport. Mouth guards and jock cups should never be the piece of equipment left out for boys and girls in contact sports.
All children participating in sports should have a sports physical before enrolling into the sports program. It is important for the physician or nurse practitioner to listen to the heart and lungs of a child who will be participating in sports and to do a urinalysis to check the health of the kidneys. Some physicians also like to do a random blood sugar test on children before they are cleared to play the games.
Ensure that your child has adequate nutrition and fluids available when they are playing a sport. If your child has not had lunch, for instance and then is asked to practice hard after school, he or she may get faint, have palpitations, headache, or nausea during practice.
Adults should be present at all times during practice, training, and game times to enforce safety rules and to provide a safe playing environment. Adult supervision goes along way to preventing the school bully of having a chance to interfere with school activities.
Ask about the safety-related policies of your local sports leagues and school teams. Coaches and other on the field personnel should be trained in first aid and CPR.
Finally, make sure you have all medical and emergency information available to the coaches and school authorities in case of an injury when you are not around.
Providing children with the proper equipment, good nutrition, adequate training and conditioning and the skills needed for the sport will make sure they are physically and mentally ready for the challenges of playing the game.
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Terri Forehand is a pediatric critical care nurse and freelance writer. She has a passion for kids of all ages, especially kids who are fighting against tough illnesses and diseases. Visit her blog and website for more information. She is currently working on fiction for kids.