With soccer season in full swing, tryouts are underway, and kids of all ages are training for another busy season. Whether your child is in youth soccer or you have a teen soccer player, here are some tips to help keep your child safer during the soccer season.
Consider a Sports Physical
Even if your child is active year round and participates in other sports, it’s always a good idea to make an appointment for a sports physical. If your child sustained an injury, such as a brain injury, earlier in the year, it’s important to get an “all clear” from your child’s doctor.
Meet with the Coach
If your child has played soccer for a few years or is an adolescent, you might not think it’s necessary to meet with your child’s soccer coach. While you’re likely to know all of the soccer coaches after a few seasons, it’s always a good idea to meet with your child’s soccer coach and see how they handle injuries and if they “play fair.”
A great soccer coach should stress the importance of safety during practice and matches. As a parent, you should also be familiar with the safety plan and procedures in the event of an injury.
Make Sure Protective Gear is Available
Nearly every sport has protective gear that is designed to reduce and eliminate the risk of injury; soccer is no different. Soccer cleats, shin guards and mouthguards are “must have” protective gear.
Soccer cleats help to prevent slipping on the field and work best when they fit properly and are laced and tied tightly. Shin guards should cover the shin (from below the knee and down to the ankle bone). Keep in mind that shin guards are not a “one size fits all” piece of protective gear.
A mouthguard is an easy way to safeguard against mouth injuries (such as chipped teeth). Depending on your child’s position in soccer, such as goalie, they may need additional gear such as gloves or long-sleeved shirts.
Encourage Healthy Habits and Hydration
Keeping your child active year round can help to reduce injuries during soccer season. Healthy eating, regular stretching, and a regular sleep schedule can benefit your child once soccer season rolls around.
While the beginning of the soccer season is a little cooler temperature wise, it’s important to encourage hydration before, during, and after practice or a match. Dehydration is a serious health issue that can be easily prevented.
Talk to Your Child About Fair Play
Competition is natural in every sport, but it’s also important to teach youth athletes how to win (and lose) with a good attitude. Athletes who struggle with sportsmanship are less likely to enjoy playing the sport and may even start a fight that could result in injury and a tarnished reputation.
Keeping your child physically safe is crucial during soccer season, but don’t forget to keep their emotional health in mind to ensure they have the best soccer season yet.
Article by Donna Fitzgerald