Prevent THAT Football Injury! Here are 10 ways.
Injuries happen at the most unexpected times and without question it is the most unfortunate part of youth sports. As coaches, parents and athletes, it is our duty to do all possible to prevent injuries. Scrapes and sprains are the injuries encountered most, be prepared for these for certain. Here’s what you’ll do to ensure your kids are doing all they can do to prevent an injury.
- Warm ups. As a rule of thumb, warm up head to toe. It’s imperative to thoroughly stretch prior, during and after play on the football field. Flexibility is stressed.
- Focus on Knees to chest, high knees, lunges, caterpillar, yoga stretches and leg kick outs (quad stretch).
- Conditioning is a key aspect of staying injury free. When you’re in shape, not only will you perform on the football field, but you’ll shield yourself from injury. This includes preseason conditioning, football isn’t just a half year sport- it’s a lifestyle.
- Proper instruction. It is the responsibility of the coaching staff to teach the game the right way. Improper instruction, whether it is during drills or elsewhere is dangerous.
- Proper Hydration prevents cramping. Make sure that your guys are drinking water before, during and after your practices and games.
- Equipment checks– everything needs to fit!
- For helmets, first determine the correct helmet size. We use a cloth tape for all of our kids to ensure accuracy in matching circumference of head to helmet. Inside pads should be adjusted to perfection. Should fit snug, not fit too high or ‘hanging’ too low. Buckle the chin straps and adjust, must be firm against the chin.
- Attitude. Ensure your kids are prepared for battle on the football field. Fear leads to timid play and indecision is a breeding ground for injury.
- Heads up always, see what you hit! Preach it all day long. Prevent head injuries with this simple rule. For more visit- usafootball.com/headsup.
- Have a smart practice plan with football drills that do not encourage injury. Be creative with your drills, can you make an otherwise high risk drill, safer? Details matter.
- Field maintenance. Often overlooked but important. Keep your field in great playing condition with regular maintenance. Rocks, high grass or uneven on-field surfaces can lead to an unfortunate injury.
- Play within the league rules. Pop Warner and other youth football organizations have adopted rules for practice and game safety. Be sure you’re within the scope of what is allowed when it comes to football drills. Run them correctly, as this is a key aspect of preventing youth football injuries.