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3 Winter Sports Safety Tips

  
  
  
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Just because it's cold outside (and depending on what state you call home, buried under 10 inches of snow), that doesn't means youth sports has to stop! There are plenty of winter sports, both indoor and outdoor, for your son/daughter to play this season if they want to stay active. And if they are on a highly competitive team their coach might be running mandatory winter conditioning camps. But getting and staying active when it's cold outside means following a few winter sports safety rules and tips.

Playing Through an Injury - Is It Worth It?

  
  
  
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Even with every possible safety measure in place kids are going to get hurt when playing youth sports. They'll skin their knees and elbows, they'll jam fingers, stub toes, and crash into each other. Part of playing sports means accepting some minimal level of risk. Yes, more serious accidents can and will happen, especially as the level of competition increases, so hopefully the coach is certified in CPR and first aid so they know what to do in the case of an emergency (every second counts when someone is seriously ill or injured), but most minor scrapes and bruises aren't serious enough to keep a kid off the field for more than a few minutes.

The Most Dangerous Sports

  
  
  
Injury Soccer

Even with the best intentions and safety measures in place, accidents can and do happen in youth sports. Kids are going to skin their knees, jam their fingers, sprain their ankles, and so forth. Approximately 8,000 children are treated in emergency rooms each day for sports-related injuries.  Fortunately, most of these injuries are relatively minor and with a few days rest your child is right back in the game. We can't wrap our kids in plastic bubbles every time they walk onto the field, but at the same time it's important to be aware of what could happen so that in the event of an emergency we know how to react.

The Risk of ACL Injury Among Female Athletes

  
  
  
The Risk of ACL Injury Among Female Athletes

Approximately 80% of ACL tears occur without any physical contact with another player. Instead, the tear happens when a player lands from a jump, decelerating suddenly, or quickly changing direction. Since these actions are so common in soccer and basketball, it's those players that are the most at-risk. And female athletes have the greatest risk of ACL injuries, with rates 4 to 6 times as high as for their male counterparts in the same sports. While ACL injuries are uncommon among younger players, the rate starts to pick up once girls turn 12.

Are There Any Benefits to Early Specialization in Youth Sports?

  
  
  

Some parents/coaches believe that early specialization is the best (if not only) way to ensure that their child turns their love of sports into a college scholarship or even a career. Others argue that early specialization is actually ruining youth sports because it pushes young players too hard, too fast, and too soon. Which side of the argument are you on?

New York State Public High School Athletic Association Makes Cheerleading a "Real" Sport

  
  
  

I'll admit it--I'm a cheer mom. My daughter has been on a competitive cheering for several years and I never understood why other sports parents would argue that cheerleading isn't a "real" sport. Competitive cheerleading is so much more than just standing on the sidelines of a football field and waving some pompoms; it's more like gymnastics than anything and you don't hear anyone saying that gymnasts aren't "real" athletes! Still don't think cheerleading is a sport? Take a look and this video and tell me these girls aren't serious athletes!

Injury Rates Among Youth Athletes

  
  
  
Injury Rates Among Youth Athletes

Approximately 8,000 children are treated in emergency rooms each day for sports-related injuries. According to USAToday.com, sprains and strains, fractures, contusions, abrasions and concussions top the list of sports-related ER diagnoses for kids ages 6 to 19. Interestingly, most of these sports-related injuries (62% in fact) happen during practices, not games. Some argue that we as a culture are simply better are reporting sports-injuries, as opposed to just telling kids to "play through it" and that's why injury rates seem to have gone up. Others argue that early specialization and increased competitiveness are pushing players too hard to fast, meaning more injuries among younger players.

Don't Take Concussions Lightly

  
  
  
Don't Take Concussions Lightly

The Institute of Medicine reported that “The number of athletes aged 19 and younger who were treated for concussions and other sports and recreation-related traumatic brain injuries rose from 150,000 in 2001 to a quarter million in 2009…”, a 66% spike. Some contend this increase is partially due to better diagnostic and reporting procedures, and not that kids are actually getting hurt more today than they have in past years. But whether athletes are more likely to be concussed in today's youth sports arena or not, concussions are serious injuries that we can't afford to take lightly.

Are Female Athletes Getting Hurt More Frequently than Male Athletes?

  
  
  
Are Female Athletes Getting Hurt More Frequently than Male Athletes?

While young girls can easily "keep up" with the boys when it comes to sports, around puberty the physical differences between a young female athlete and a young male athlete really start to show. Higher levels of testosterone allow boys to add muscle and get stronger quickly. But in turn, they become less flexible. Girls, as their estrogen levels increase, tend to naturally add more fat than muscle and have to train harder to get stronger. However, estrogen helps makes girls’ ligaments lax, meaning they typically outperform boys when it comes to overall body flexibility. And while flexibility is a huge advantage in some sports, especially gymnastics, it also represents greater risk for injury when female athletes don't have sufficient muscle strength to keep their joints in stable, safe positions.

Superstitions and Athletic Performance

  
  
  
Superstitions and Athletic Performance

Plenty of professional athletes have their own sports superstitions. For instance, tennis pro Serena Williams only wears the same pair of socks throughout a single tournament run. Michael Jordan always worse his North Carolina basketball shorts under his Bulls uniform. And of course, entire leagues of players and male fans start growing their playoff beards once their team hits the post season. And never, ever, ever mention the words “not-hitter” to a pitcher that is on a roll. After all, it’s only crazy if it doesn’t work, right?

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