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Protecting children from serious injuries while playing sports

There are many terrific health benefits when your child plays sports, and he or she also gets to learn valuable lessons about teamwork, perseverance, and the rewards of working hard.

However, as a parent, you always want to be aware of the risks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention note that 2.6 million kids end up in the emergency room every year when they're hurt playing sports. Children could suffer from concussions, lacerations, broken bones, eye injuries, and much more. Below are a few things that can be done to keep them safe:

-- Giving them proper safety gear that fits. Recycling gear or using second-hand gear is find as long as it's not worn out or damaged. This goes for everything from helmets to shin pads.

-- Teaching children the right skills they need to avoid injuries. For example, in tackle football, it's critical for young players to know how to hit with their shoulders, not their heads. This helps protect them from serious head and spine injuries, which could result in paralysis or even death.

-- Watching the temperature. On hot days in the middle of summer, heat stroke is a serious issue. Children have passed away in excessive heat during practice. It's also important to monitor fluid intake and ensure that children are properly hydrated.

Was your child injured on the field, court, or rink? With serious injuries, you could be facing high medical bills, the need for life-long care for your child, and much more. This is a very difficult time, but make sure you consider your potential rights to compensation if negligence by the coaches or other members of the organization led to the injury.

Source: CDC, "Sports Safety," accessed Jan. 20, 2017

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