Play smart this summer


Summer’s almost here and that means it’s time for summer rec leagues. But before you send your family out to face down any cut shots or chin music, take a few moments to keep them safe:

Appropriate safety gear. Make sure everyone has and uses the proper equipment for each sport. In other words, don’t send your kid onto the soccer field in baseball cleats.

Maintenance. Scope out the ballpark or field before your kids join an organized sport. Be sure the grounds and equipment are well maintained. The same goes for any safety equipment. Worn out gear will not do an effective job of keeping your child safe.

Knowledgeable adults. Talk to the organizers about injury prevention. Do they enforce the safety equipment rules? Do they know the warning signs of a concussion? Will they limit practice in the worst heat and sun? Ideally, coaches will have first aid and CPR training. But if not, they should still have a sound action plan in case a player gets injured.

Warm-ups and cool downs. Help prevent strains and sprains by taking time for warm-ups and cool-downs. Warm-ups stretch the muscles and get the body ready for competitive play. Cool-downs help loosen muscles that constricted during exercise.

Water. Remind your kids to stay hydrated. Send them off with large, refillable water bottles or sports drinks.

Sun protection. Sunscreen is a must. Just one blistering sunburn before age 18 can double your child’s chances of developing melanoma (a serious form of skin cancer) later in life. If you can, buy extra sunscreen for the coaches to keep on-hand with the rest of the team equipment.

Whether you’re 14 or 44, using some simple good judgment will help keep you safer, and in the game, this summer.


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