Youth sports: 9 Football safety tips for kids

By | October 28, 2014 | Health & Wellness

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Youth sports: 9 Football safety tips for kids | The Momiverse | #AflacSweeps

Like most moms, I worry about the health and safety of my kids and sometimes wish I could cloak them in bubble wrap before sending them out into the world.

I have two sons, ages 10 and 8, who play a variety of sports throughout the year. Their favorite sport, and the one they’ve played most, is flag football.

Football is a highly physical sport and it’s inevitable that some injuries will occur during practice and games. How can parents ensure their kids play a sport they love and take precautions to avoid injuries?

Help your children can stay as safe as possible on the football field with the following safety tips:

1.   Have the proper gear.

Some equipment may look optional, but it’s important to wear all necessary pads, helmet, mouth guard, cleats, gloves and other safety gear each time you play. If you show up for a practice or game without it, alert your coach immediately.

2.   Follow the rules.

While physical prowess is central to football, you must obey the rules. In the heat of the moment it’s easy to forget, but there’s a reason why things like tripping, clipping, blocking below the knees, and helmet-to-helmet contact are illegal in football: They can be very dangerous to both you and your opponents.

3.   Stay hydrated.

Athletes need to have the right amount of water before, during and after practice, games, and exercising. Water regulates your body temperature, lubricates joints and helps transport nutrients for energy and health. If you become dehydrated, your body will be unable to perform at its highest level, and you may experience fatigue, muscle cramps, dizziness or more serious symptoms.

4.   Train outside of practices and games.

For younger kids, if your team only schedules one practice each week, work on throwing, passing, catching, sprinting on other days to avoid injury and keep muscles conditioned. However, don’t overdo it, because overusing your muscles can lead to injury too.

5.   Listen to your body.

If at any point you feel pain or discomfort while playing, notify your coach and get out of the game. While sitting on the sidelines is one of the most difficult situations a player can face, pushing through injuries increases the severity and keeps you out of action longer.

6.   Follow your doctor’s orders.

After experiencing a sports injury, the first question a player often asks is, “When can I play again?” The answer depends on the injury. Always listen to your doctor. Even if you can’t return right away, a doctor or physical therapist might have suggestions and advice on what you can do to stay fit and rehab the injury. It’s important to always check with a doctor before attempting any activity following an
injury.

7.   Be a responsible athlete.

Cooperate with your coach’s conditioning programs, master correct execution of football techniques and plays, wear protective equipment, follow all the rules, report your injuries (even minor ones) to your coach and parents, and comply with injury treatment and rehabilitation programs.

8.   Make sure you’re covered.

Accidents happen. When unexpected injuries happen on the football field, make sure you’re prepared with supplemental insurance to help cover out-of-pocket expenses. According to the 2014 Aflac WorkForces Report, 66 percent of U.S. workers could not afford the costs associated with a serious illness or injury. That’s why voluntary insurance plans are so important. In the event of a serious injury, they help provide peace of mind and cash benefits to help you get back in the game fast.

9.   Help your parents remember:

  • You and your teammates are kids
  • This is a game
  • Many coaches are volunteers
  • The referees are human
  • This is not professional sports

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I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Photo source:

Breakaway by jedolby3
DSC_0430 by Brian J. McDermott

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Charmin Calamaris

Charmin is a wife, mom of two boys and creator of the Momiverse. The Momiverse is an online magazine for busy moms (is there any other kind?) dedicated to helping moms make time – and take time – for themselves. She traded in her career in land use planning and environmental policy to become Chief Executive Navigator of the Momiverse. You can connect with Charmin in her "online office" on Twitter or Facebook.

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