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What Parents Need to Know About Sports Participation

Carefully assess the school's athletic program, expert advises

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SUNDAY, Aug. 24, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Sports are an important part of school for many youngsters, and proper preparation is essential for reducing their risk of injury, an expert says.

"It's important for young athletes to acclimatize to any new sports regimen," Larry Cooper, chair of the National Athletic Trainers' Association's secondary school committee, said in an association news release.

"With fall comes a renewed energy and commitment to the game or individual competition, and our bodies need time to adjust to temperature, increased activity, range of motion and sport-specific conditioning," he said.

It's also crucial for parents to assess a school's sports safety programs and first aid preparations, Cooper said.

Parents need to find out who provides care in cases of sports injuries, to review their qualifications, and find out if the school/league has an emergency action plan.

Check the qualifications of coaches and volunteers, make sure all sports equipment is safe and in working order, and ask if locker rooms, gyms and showers are cleaned on a regular basis, Cooper said.

It's also important to find out if the school has an automated external defibrillator (AED) and someone who knows how to use it, Cooper said.

Your children should have a medical exam to determine if they are ready to play sports and to uncover any problems that may prevent or limit their participation in athletics, he added.

It's a good idea for parents to complete an emergency medical authorization form that can be obtained from the school or league. The form would include parent contact information and permission for emergency medical care for the student athlete, Cooper said.

More information

The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more about sports safety.

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