(CNN) – If you’re the parent of a student-athlete, you know the excitement of watching your child compete, but with competition comes the possibilities of injuries. From developing strong friendships to building physical and personal skills, being a teen athlete has its benefits. But playing competitively can also get a youngster hurt. How can they stay safe?
Athletic experts from Fairfax County, Virginia, one of the more progressive school districts in the country when it comes to sports safety, make these recommendations. Come prepared to play.
Coach Cornell Williams, a football coach at Marshall High School in Virginia says, “Preparation for athletics really comes before the athlete even sees the field or the court. It comes in basic practices of strength and conditioning.”
Develop your child’s own sports medicine team. That should include your teen’s doctor, coach and the school’s athletic trainers, and try to build trust.
Amanda Rolik, an athletic trainer at Marshall, says, “It is incredibly important that we build a trusting relationship with our athletes. They are more willing to share information with us and tell us what’s going on with them, that’s become especially important with concussions. ”
Make sure your school has an emergency action plan that includes parents, school administrators and coaches, should a health problem occur.
John Reynolds from the Fairfax County Athletic Training Program says, “That means having the personnel in place, the training and the education necessary so that all parties are able to respond appropriately.”
And know what illnesses and ailments your child may be susceptible to and pass on that information to the athletic staff.