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Healthy Living: Fall Sports Safety

A new school year is upon us, and kids are getting ready to get back into their daily routines. And the new school year also means the beginning of sports season. 

The big sport, of course, is football. Every Friday night, two teams go head to head to battle it out on the field under the roar of cheering fans and bright stadium lights. With all the hard hits, tackles and the yards of running to the end zone comes the risk of injuries. But, unfortunately, injuries are part of the game in just about every sport your children may pursue this fall, from soccer to softball to volleyball and gymnastics. 

Since no one wants to be watching from the sidelines, here are some quick tips to keep your All-Star on the field. 

1. Make sure each child has had a recent physical to check for any possible risk factors.

2. Make sure each player has properly fitted safety equipment.

3. Make sure all athletes have proper hydration. This is especially important because of the abnormally high temperatures we’ve been seeing this summer. The best way to stay hydrated is just to drink plenty of water! However, if your athlete doesn’t like the taste of water, you can offer sports drinks such as Gatorade or PowerAde. These types of sports drinks help replenish the electrolytes lost in sweat, which keep energy up and help muscles function properly. If you’re concerned about the sugar content of such drinks, there are now lower-sugar, and even no-calorie, no-sugar sports drinks.

4. Encourage proper nutrition, including healthy snacks. Athletes may not want to eat a heavy meal before a big game, and may even get butterflies the day of a game that makes them not want to eat much all day. But providing high-energy, high-nutrient snacks – such as bananas, nuts, peanut butter, yogurt, smoothies and trail mix – can make sure your athlete has the energy to perform.

5. If your young athlete requires any regular medication or equipment – such as an inhaler – make sure the coach knows about this requirement, and that your child has access to this equipment from the sidelines if necessary.

6. Finally, remind them one of the most important things is to have fun! 

Go out and support your hometown team.

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