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Tackling Football Safety

Filed Under: Men's Health at 4:36 pm | By: Susan Coyle, Senior Editor
Football GameIn Philadelphia, we know what a sports injury is. It’s Chase Utley’s hand and Donovan McNabb’s knee. It can be the end of a player’s season and the fading of any championship hopes. It’s a fact of life. After all, balls and bodies fly through the air in every game, on every field. When that field houses a professional sports team, the injured receive the utmost medical care from specially trained physicians and trainers. When it is a high school arena, that is often not the case. Forty-two percent of secondary schools do not have athletic trainers. If the players are injured, they wait for an ambulance or physician to find their school, eventually receiving the necessary treatment. Of course, that’s only if they reveal the injury. Many students, for the sake of the team, hide them, particularly concussions.

Concussions are the injury that you cannot see. They are the result of a blow that smashes your brain against your skull, often leading to dizziness, headache, nausea, lethargy and impaired vision. If diagnosed or reported, the player’s head has time to heal as he watches the remainder of the game from the bench. But more often than not, high school students choose to ignore the injury, opting instead to finish the play and the game. This unnecessary sacrifice can lead to post-concussion syndrome, second-impact syndrome or, even worse, death. The only way to lessen the danger is to inform students and impress upon them the importance of revealing a head injury. The adults on the sidelines also need to be knowledgeable. If they are properly informed and paying attention, they may be able to catch a concussion, with or without a player’s help. But, simply discussing concussions isn’t the only way to make the football field safer. Steps need to be taken before, during and after games to prevent not only concussions but all injuries. Fortunately, the National Athletic Trainers’ Association has provided guidelines to help coaches and parents do just that:

1. All children should receive a general health exam prior to playing.
2. All children should be supervised by an adult, at all times.
3. Teams should have an emergency plan, appropriate safety gear and a first aid kit.
4. Training, prior to games, should help build the players’ endurance and ability so that they are prepared for the activity.
5. Players should consume seven to 10 ounces of fluids (water or a sports drink) every 10 to 20 minutes, and before and after activity.
6. Diets should incorporate grains, fruits and vegetables, dairy and meat/poultry/fish, in moderation.
7. Time should be set aside from warm up, rest, cool down and stretching.

For a more detailed look at the guidelines check them out online. Keep your child safe this fall. The only sports injury you should be worried about is the strain to your voice after cheering his/her team on to victory

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