Keep Youth Sports Safety Top of Mind: Guidelines from NATA

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Source: National Athletic Trainers' Association DALLAS, May 15, 2013 - With the spring sports season well under way and summer preseason practices and youth league games around the corner, young athletes are already enjoying warm weather activities and competition. "Every team and athlete should have sports safety as a top priority," says Larry Cooper, chair of the National Athletic Trainers' Association Secondary School Committee and head athletic trainer at Penn Trafford (Pa.) High School. "It's vital for coaches, athletic trainers, parents and the athletes themselves to maintain good communication and follow guidelines to ensure all participants are fit for play." NATA hosted the 4th Youth Sports Safety Summit earlier this year with the support of the Youth Sports Safety Alliance, now composed of 109 organizations committed to keeping athletes safe, and launched the first-ever National Action Plan for Sports Safety and Student Athlete Bill of Rights (www.youthsportssafetyalliance.org). "Each athlete is entitled to appropriate care, prevention and treatment of injuries should they occur," says Cooper. NATA offers several sports safety tips to keep athletes in the game: 1. Make sure the athlete is physically and mentally in the game: Parents, with assistance from coaches, should determine whether their children are physically and psychologically conditioned for the sport/activity level they're playing. Do not push children into something they do not want to do. Additionally, if an athlete has been injured and is returning to sport, it's critical for him or her to have the right mind set and confidence to return to play and avoid repeat injury.

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