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How to stay safe when playing sports?

When the time comes for a young athlete to play their sport, there are a variety of things that need to be done before they take the field.

One of those is making sure they have the right equipment.

“Wearing the proper equipment is essential to help prevent injury,” said Dr. Shelden Martin with OrthoArizona. “This applies to all sports, from organized contact sports like football to recreational solo activities like mountain biking.”

According to a recent Health Day article, one of those recreational activities was skateboarding. In 2011, skateboarding accidents accounted for more than 78,000 trips to the emergency room.

“I don’t think people think about injuries when being active, and particularly how prevalent injuries are, especially in organized sports like football or soccer,” Martin said.

Common injuries that Martin sees affecting young people vary from sport to sport, but in general include strains, sprains, fractures and torn ligaments.

“You can see injury in almost any activity whether competing in organized sports or just participating in solo activity,” Martin said. “Fortunately, most of the minor injuries I see don’t typically require surgery.

“However, more severe injuries like fractures and ligament tears, in general, will require surgery,” the doctor continued.

Martin believes educating young people about wearing the proper equipment is a step in the right direction when it comes to preventing trips to the emergency room.

“It’s important to properly check your equipment before use to ensure it is in proper working order,” Martin said. “For instance, you should make sure you don’t have cracks in your helmets, pads, or guards.”

While supervised sports typically have coaches, athletic trainers, and equipment managers keeping an eye on the equipment, Martin believes parents can play a big part in the non-group sports.

“Parents should help their youth athletes and educate them about properly checking equipment and making sure everything is up to date and in good working condition prior to use,” Martin said.

About Shelden Martin

I've had the privilege of working with many professional, collegiate and high school athletic teams. I am currently the head team physician for the 2012 AFL World Champion Arizona Rattlers. I have also presented research both nationally and internationally and published extensively in peer-reviewed literature.