Football season is just around the corner, and parents will be concerned about their student-athlete's well-being. It is a high-impact contact sport, and is the leading cause of school-sport injuries in the United States. In football, sudden injuries can occur along with overusing muscles.

Even though you would like to be on the sideline and in the game with them to keep them safe for injury, you cannot. Regardless of whether your student-athlete is a playing peewee football to high school football, below are some safety tips to help keep them playing.

Pre-season sports physicals
Getting your student-athlete a pre-season sports physical will help determine their current physical status, and if their health is good enough for them to play sports. This should also help uncover anything that might prevent your student-athlete from playing contact sports. All six of HealthONE's CareNow Urgent Care clinics are offering $20 physicals until August 31, 2018. No appointment necessary.

If something doesn't seem right, speak up
Let your student-athlete know that they should always talk to their coaches and trainers if they feel like something is not right with their body. Sometimes children are under the impression that they need to stay in a game and play, even if they aren't up to par. This decision could cause permanent damage to an injury if it isn't allowed to heal all the way.

Concussion signs are important to know
It used to be that when you would see stars after a physical jarring that it was just part of the game. After a lot of research by scientists and doctors, we now know, however, the importance of signs that represent concussions. Like any other injury, make sure that the student-athlete does not play if they have symptoms of a concussion. Doing so could cause irreversible damage to their brain.

“It’s important to talk with your athlete’s coach to make sure they know how to recognize a concussion and how important it is to teach their athletes to report their injuries.  This is the best way to make contact sports safer,” says Sue Kirelik, MD, pediatric emergency physician and medical director of the Center for Concussion at Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children.

“If you have a high school athlete be sure to have them see their athletic trainer if they have an injury. Athletic trainers are trained to recognize injuries and can help the recovery and safe return to sports,” added Kirelik.

Should your student-athlete show signs of a concussion after physical activity such as a practice or a game, then immediately schedule an appointment with their pediatrician or take them to an urgent care or emergency room as soon as possible. Here are some symptoms of a concussion to look for:

  • Confusion
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Vomiting
  • Dilated pupils
  • Memory loss
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Mood swings or extreme lethargy

Be sure your student-athlete is properly equipped
Purchasing football gear can get expensive, especially if your child is having a growth spurt. So, before the start of pre-season practice, make sure that they have all of the correct equipment and that it fits properly. Helmets, mouth guards, pads, and cleats are vital in helping to keep your student-athlete safe from injury.

When those injuries do occur, though, you can trust the healthcare professionals at HealthONE and Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children to take care of your student-athlete.