Reducing Injury Risk In Youth Sports: 5 Questions To Ask
It’s that time again. August is fast approaching and school is not far behind. Is your child going to play fall sports in school or in a league? We all assume that when we drop off our child(ren) at that first practice that they will be safe, that there is a person present who knows what to do in an emergency medical situation. What if that is not the case? What questions should you ask to determine if the coaches know what to do in case your child gets injured?
1. Preparticipation Physical Examination “Sports Physical”
For school sports, a sports physical is typically required. The form used should be the American Academy of Pediatrics Preparticipation Physical Evaluation Form. There are two sections to this form. One for the parent to complete and one for the doctor to complete. The parent portion is called the History Form. It has over 50 questions for you to answer. These are very important and review all types of conditions and family history. A proper sports physical has saved more than a few lives.
2. Emergency Action Plan
Is the athlete’s Emergency Contact and Emergency Medical Information immediately available to the coach (please do not say it is in a 3-ring binder)? If a medication is necessary in an emergency (EpiPen®, Asthma Inhaler), it is immediately available and does the coach know how to properly administer it? Who is responsible for on-field care? Who calls 9-1-1? Who takes care of the rest of the team? Who manages the spectators in the stands? Who meets the ambulance? Who travels with the athlete? Are the coaches trained in CPR? Who gets the AED? Is there an AED available? Who has/maintains the first aid kit? Who notifies emergency contacts? Who documents the incident? Where is it posted? Is it made available to the parents? Is it available to everyone while on the field?
3. Concussion Protocol
Are the coaches trained to recognize the signs and symptoms of a concussion? Who removes the player and documents the injury? Who is notified and when? Who oversees the return to play process? Is a doctor’s note required for the athlete to return to play? Does the note have a return to play date? Is this note recorded and is the date communicated to all parties? Can the organization administrator track this process and make final clearance to return?
4. Heat Preparedness Plan
Is the heat index used to determine if practice or a game is safe to play? Is there an ice bath and shade canopy field side? Are water breaks scheduled? Are the athletes weighed before and after practices?
5. Sports Safety System
Can all the above be managed on a phone? See teamsafesports.com for more information.