Athletic careers will come and go. Some will last just a few years, while others will stretch into multiple decades. But no matter the level of success achieved on the field, the lessons and experiences gained will last a lifetime.
As a parent or coach, you wear many hats. You help teach kids the rules of the game and the life lessons that the sport can uniquely teach, but you also have a responsibility to ensure that the youth sports experience is a safe one.
At Liberty Mutual Insurance, our Responsible Sports team has partnered with the experts from Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) as well as the experts from US Youth Soccer to provide you with a quick checklist of key safety measures that you should ensure are in place before your child takes the field.
- Conditioning: Before your children begin any sports programs, at any level, check with your family doctor to fully and accurately assess their fitness.
- Hydration: As you have likely seen in the news recently, hydration is a hot issue in sports. Teach your children the importance of proper hydration. Send them to practice with water bottles, remind them to drink water throughout the day and greet them after practice with a nice cold bottle of water.
- Nutrition: We all know nutrition is important. It becomes even more important for our young athletes, who are burning massive amounts of calories during practice and games. Do your best to ensure your athlete is eating a balanced diet, and touch base with your kids’ coach on special nutritional needs before practices and games.
- Equipment: Make sure the equipment your children use for practice and games is truly safe. Ensure that your children always wear adequate protective gear and ask their coaches if you can examine all training and field equipment. Teach your children to use equipment only for its intended purpose.
- Injury Prevention and Treatment: Partner with your children’s coaches to ensure greater safety. For example, keep a first aid kit in your car to supplement the coach’s first aid kit. Consider getting certified in first aid and CPR, and encourage other parents to do the same. You can never have enough qualified hands in case of an emergency. A first aid kit and at least one adult trained and certified in first aid and CPR should be present at all practices and games.
- Driving: We take driving safety seriously, and we know you do too. Anyone responsible for driving youth athletes to and from practice or games should be properly licensed and insured. Consider updating your own insurance policy to reflect carpooling care of passengers. Liberty Mutual Insurance offers a wide array of auto insurance policies to choose from.
Looking for more resources on ensuring the safety of your athletes? The team at Responsible Sports has gathered a wealth of advice and resources available for free at ResponsibleSports.com.
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Have a safe season from your friends at Liberty Mutual Insurance and Responsible Sports!