Preparing your child for football season is part of our fall routine. As a parent, the joy of watching your child play football is unmatched. But it’s equally important to ensure their safety during the game. Football, while exciting, has its risks due to its physical nature. Injuries can range from minor ones like bruises and sprains to more severe ones like concussions. However, these risks can be significantly reduced with the proper preparation. A fit body is less likely to get injured. So, getting your child physically ready before the season begins is essential.
Safety Football Gear
When it comes to playing football safely, the right gear is crucial. Here’s a rundown of the essentials:
- Helmet: A good helmet should have a sturdy plastic shell and ample padding inside. It should comply with the safety standards set by the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE). Your child’s coach or a sports equipment professional can guide you to a suitable, well-fitting helmet. Ensure your helmet has a rigid facemask made from coated carbon steel securely attached to the helmet. Different playing positions require different types of facemasks, so consult with your coach on which is best. Lastly, the helmet should have a chin strap with a protective chin cup that should be fastened snugly during play.
- Pants with Leg Pads: These should be worn to protect the hips, thighs, knees, and tailbone. Some pants come with inbuilt pads, while others are shells that go over the pads.
- Shoulder Pads: These should have a hard plastic exterior with thick padding inside.
- Shoes: The type of shoes and cleats permitted varies across leagues. Always check with your coach and refer to your league’s guidelines.
- Mouthguard: All leagues mandate the use of mouthguards. Opt for one with a keeper strap that can be securely attached to the facemask.
- Athletic Supporter with Cup: This is essential for male athletes to prevent injuries to the testicles.
Additional gear to consider includes:
- Padded neck rolls.
- Forearm pads.
- Gloves (padded or non-padded).
- “Flak jackets” to shield the ribcage and abdomen.
If your children needs to wear glasses, ensure they’re made of shatterproof material. (Anzilotti)
Football Training Safety
Regarding football training, safety should always be at the forefront. Coaches should promote fair play during both practices and games. They should be present at all times, alongside an athletic trainer if possible, to:
- Enforce limited contact during practice sessions.
- Ensure players adhere to current safety guidelines regarding tackling.
- Prohibit any helmet-to-helmet or helmet-to-body contact.
- Insist on using appropriate protective gear, especially well-fitted, good-condition helmets.
To avoid injuries during training, players should:
- Undergo a sports physical examination before taking up any new sport.
- Make it a habit to warm up and stretch before playing.
- Master and apply correct techniques, including tackling safely and falling without injury.
- Immediately halt training if they experience pain or sustain an injury. Injured players should seek approval from an athletic trainer, coach, doctor, or nurse before rejoining the game.
- Stay hydrated, particularly during hot and sunny days. This involves drinking ample fluids before, during, and after games and practices.
- Familiarize themselves with the team’s emergency plan.
- Participate in different sports throughout the year to avoid overuse injuries.
Emotional Support for Children
In the realm of sports, the competition is high. However, in youth sports, the stakes feel even higher, particularly for parents. Your child’s success is paramount to you. Still, it’s essential to remember that your conduct, both on and off the field, dramatically impacts your performance and growth. Thus, your role in nurturing and supporting their development cannot be overstated.
Express your love and appreciation irrespective of the game’s outcome. Each practice or match is a learning experience. Be present at their games or training sessions and cheer them on whenever you can. Make an effort to understand the intricacies of the sport. Although football might seem more complex than other sports, you can grasp its nuances with some time and dedication. (KidsHealth)
In conclusion, preparing your child for football season is essential in ensuring their safety, enjoyment, and success on the field. By focusing on physical conditioning, proper equipment, and skill development, you can help your child build a strong foundation for the upcoming season. It’s also essential to emphasize sportsmanship, teamwork, and a positive attitude, as these qualities contribute to a fulfilling and rewarding experience. Remember to support and encourage your child throughout their football journey, keeping their well-being and enjoyment at the forefront.
When to Visit the ER
Our Emergency room has Board Certified ER Physicians who can assess any football or sports injury. We have on-site X-ray and CT Scanning equipment and offer no wait to be seen. We can address head injury, concussion, broken bones and contusions. While we know we have equipped our children to play football in the safest way possible, there are always injuries. Be sure to put our number in your contacts and call ahead. We’ll have your room ready and waiting. Stay safe and happy football season!
Meredith, Janis. “How to Prepare Your Child for a Different Season.” USA Football, blogs.usafootball.com/blog/8277/how-to-prepare-your-child-for-a-different-season.
VertiMax, Team. “Ready for Football Season? Youth Football Tips for Parents.” Athletic Performance Training Equipment, VertiMax, LLC, 9 Aug. 2022, vertimax.com/blog/youth-football-tips-for-parents.
“Safety Tips: Football (for Teens) – Nemours Kidshealth.” Edited by Amy W. Anzilotti, KidsHealth, The Nemours Foundation, Mar. 2019, kidshealth.org/en/teens/safety-football.html.
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