The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and the Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America both recommend that children:
be in proper physical condition to play a sport.
know and abide by the rules of the sport.
wear appropriate protective gear (for example, shin guards for soccer, a hard-shell helmet when facing a baseball pitcher, a helmet and body padding for ice hockey).
know how to correctly use athletic equipment.
always warm up before playing.
avoid playing when very tired or in pain.
The parents and coach should also try to group youngsters by skill level and size, not chronological age, particularly during contact sports. If that’s not possible, try to modify the sport to accommodate all children on the team.
Off the Field
Encourage your child to train for the sport rather than expecting the sport itself to get them into shape. Many injuries can be prevented with a conditioning program that has exercises designed specifically for that sport.
Make sure your child’s coach has the right qualifications to supervise a particular sport, provides well-maintained safety equipment, and helps with proper conditioning for that sport.
An estimated 500,000 young athletes, boys and girls, use black-market anabolic steroids to improve their athletic performance. Steroids have been shown to increase muscle mass, but they can cause serious and potentially life-threatening complications and should be avoided.
Youth sports should always be fun. The “win at all costs” attitude of many parents, coaches, and peers can lead to injuries. If your child is striving to meet unrealistic expectations, he or she may ignore the warning signs of injury and continue to play with pain.
Work with the coach to create an atmosphere of healthy competition focused on self-reliance, confidence, cooperation, and a positive self-image, rather