Sports Safety Checklist

Educating parents and coaches on how to help children avoid common sports-related injuries is a top priority for certified athletic trainers who specialize in the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of injuries and illnesses.

Before Children Participate in Organized Sports, Parents Should:

  1. Assess the financial and time impact on your family.
  2. Determine if your children are physically and mentally “in shape”.
  3. Have your children obtain a physical examination.
  4. Provide coaches with your child’s medical history.
  5. Make sure your children are staying hydrated and eating a balanced diet.
  6. Ascertain coaches’ qualifications and find out who’s taking care of your kids in the event of an injury or illness.

Before Children Participate in Organized Sports Coaches Should:

  1. Establish an emergency action plan and keep an emergency medical authorization from on file.
  2. Inspect, maintain, and instruct the proper use of sports equipment and check sports facilities on a regular basis.
  3. Establish warm up/cool down flexibility regimen.
  4. Create hydration plan.
  5. Have a heat illness program in place.
  6. Have a well-stocked first aid kit available at all times.

If Serious Injuries Occur, Coaches Need To:

  1. Contact EMS Immediately
    Answer the dispatcher’s questions that will include the following:
    • Where the injured athlete is located.
    • Information about the athlete’s problem.
    • What is being done to help the athlete?
    • The number of the phone you are using to call.
    • Where someone will meet them to direct them to the injured athlete.
    • Hang up LAST-let EMS hang up first.
    • Call the injured athlete’s parent or guardian.
  2. Follow R.I.C.E. principle
    All injuries should be evaluated promptly and treated appropriately. The first aid treatment for most orthopaedic injuries follows the R.I.C.E. principle:
    • Rest or immobilization of the injured body part.
    • Ice application for a minimum of 15-20 minutes.
    • Compression or elastic wrap should be applied to help prevent or decrease swelling.
    • Elevation of the injured body area above the level of the heart to decrease swelling.
  3. Determine When an Injured Athlete Can Resume Sports Activities
    • If a child suffers a head or face injury and experiences a headache, impaired vision, ringing in the ears or nausea, he or she should not return to participate until cleared by a physician.
    • Athletes should be permitted to return to sports activities only when they can perform as well as before they were injured and can protect themselves from re-injury.

If an athlete has been under a physician’s care, the physician should clear the athlete for participation before the activity status is determined.