Injury prevention and sports performance programs

Why sports safety?

Reducing injuries enables athletes to reach their full potential and remain on a lifelong path to better health. Though education, we can empower parents, coaches, and athletes with evidence-based information to keep participants healthy and injury free.

Lives are lost every year during sports or physical activity and thousands of others have long-term complications resulting from athletic injuries. These deaths or injuries can be reduced or prevented if best practices are put in place.

What issues do we think about when we refer to sports safety?

  • Concussion/head injuries
  • Emergency action planning
  • Overuse injuries
  • ACL prevention
  • Nutrition and young athletes
  • Skin infections
  • Mental health and hazing
  • Protective equipment
  • Exercise-induced asthma
  • Heat illness
  • Environment of play
  • Sudden cardiac death in athlete

What are the leading causes of death in sports?

Sudden cardiac death is the leading cause of death in high school and college-aged athletes. Males are more likely to die from this than females and the top sports this is seen in are high school football, high school basketball, and college football. Sudden cardiac death is typically caused by hypertrophic cardiomyopathy or coronary artery anomalies in young athletes in the US.

Head injury is the leading cause of traumatic death in sports. An estimated 300,000 sports related brain injuries occur per year in the US, with the majority in high school football. The majority of head injuries are concussions.

Heat illness and death are on the rise. Heat stroke, a severe form of heat-related illness, is a leading cause of death especially in July and August. Learn more about when to take your child to the ER for dehydration.

Why are injuries on the rise?

Sports specialization puts youth at potential risk for overuse injuries, burnout, and psychological issues. Children who specialize in a single sport account for approximately half of the overuse injuries in young athletes. Children who specialize at an early age have a higher risk of being physically inactive as adults.

Young athletes are also put at risk through poor training and conditioning, insufficient rest after an injury and year-round sports participation.

What can we do?

Coaches and parents can help prevent overuse and trauma injuries by:

  • Mandating pre-participation physicals
  • Enforcing warm-up and cool down routines
  • Encouraging proper strength training routines
  • Holding ongoing discussions about the importance of rest with athletes
  • Educate athletes on proper proper hydration strategies
  • Educate athletes on proper nutrition for performance
  • Supervise equipment maintenance
  • Encourage kids to speak with an athletic trainer, coach, or physician if they are having any pain
  • Discourage early specialization
  • Treat symptoms of problems/injuries EARLY

More tips for your young athlete