Disclosure: This post is sponsored by the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) as part of their public awareness campaign, At Your Own Risk – Share Your Story.
Competitive Sports Are Fun, But Safety First!
Softball, Sports and Safety Precautions
I didn’t plan on being a “sports mom.” In fact, I am probably the last person you would ever expect to be a sports mom. Yet, here I am absolutely rocking it! Our family started by playing sports at the local playground level, but once the girls got a taste of softball they absolutely fell in love with the sport. With that intense love of the game comes the dedication and hard work perfecting their skills. The work that these kids put in takes a toll on their bodies and even emotions at times. I honestly had no idea what their bodies go through, but I soon learned because that’s what moms do! My daughters have experienced injuries to the shins, knees, face (black eyes), and, most recently, the chest. We’ve been relatively lucky; all have been minor injuries, but these examples are always a stark reminder of what can happen on the field.
So, with that in mind, we prepare! We always have at least one parent in attendance at an out of town game, and for practices we make sure that there is at least one parent watching from the sidelines. Our coach, while not a trained medical professional, has had years of experience with softball injuries. We have a few mandatory rules for our girls: wear your face masks, get good rest and hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Being aware of what types of injuries are common in sports helps immensely with recovery, as you can’t play sports and expect to get away 100% unscathed. We all know that hydration is very important, especially in South Louisiana where temperatures often climb into the 90s. Therefore, our daughters start hydrating and eating properly 2-3 days before a tournament to give them the best shot of staying well throughout the weekend. Another example of our softball prep is that almost every parent on our team has a first aid kit within arm’s reach; all the kids become your kids when playing for a competitive team, and they know to locate a team parent and ask for help. If you come to our house after practice you will see knees or arms being iced down and elevated! We use the R.I.C.E. method: Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevate.
As parents, we are truly the children’s first line of protection; their bodies are still growing and they will often push themselves beyond safe limits if given the chance. Children don’t always “know better,” and it is our job as moms to make sure that we are incorporating medical knowledge and common sense. Making sure we as parents know what the emergency protocol is includes a lot of proactive asking and sometimes being “that mom” in the name of safety. Over the years I have learned the importance of listening to our kids when they are hurting, being aware of common sport injuries and looking for the warning signs, not allowing them play through an injury (no matter what) and most importantly reinforcing to them that in the idea the goal is to be having fun through sports.
At Your Own Risk also has a few tips to keep in mind as our kids start playing sports:
1) Determine who will provide medical care during a practice or game
2) Determine the coach’s training and experience
3) Ensure the team or venue is prepared for an emergency
4) Confirm there is appropriate safety equipment
5) Make sure your child is ready for physical activity
6) Make it fun
7) Know the signs and symptoms of common injuries
Download The Parent Checklist for Youth Sports Safety to learn more.
These are all excellent tips whether your children are just starting out at the playground level or have been playing competitively for many years. Common sense goes a long way; if you suspect an injury, take them immediately to an urgent care or emergency room. Sports are great for both our kids and families; it’s a lot of work, but it’s brought our family closer than ever and taught all of us some lifelong lessons!
Do your kids play sports? Have they been injured? Do you have an athletic trainer on the side lines? We would be honored if you would share your story! #MyStoryWithNATA
Here in New Orleans, Children’s Hospital offers a variety of services (Emergency Room, Urgent Care, Concussion Clinic, etc) that may be of assistance should the need arise with any sports related injury.
Note :: NATA is not affiliated with CHNOLA but we thought it was important to share this local resource.
About Stacey Autin
Hi, I’m Stacey! I’m 40+ years old raising 3 girls in Metairie with my partner of 17 years. We spend a lot of time at the softball field! I try to stay as active as I can in my own life and believe that I am my daughters’ first line of defense when it comes to safety on the ball field.
Thanks for sharing this! I needed additional material to get informed for my kids’ sports safety programs! This is perfect!