Department of Public Health
Thomas Carbone, Director of Public Health
36 Bartlet St.
Andover, MA 01810
Friday, Aug. 18, 2017
Contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
Andover Public Health Shares Back to School Sports Safety Tips
ANDOVER — As students prepare to return to school, the Andover Health Division is reminding residents about important safety measures surrounding school sports and other recreational activities.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 2.6 million children ages 19 and under are treated in the emergency room each year for sports and recreation-related injuries.
“As students prepare to resume their school sports and activities, we want to ensure that they are taking the necessary precautions to ensure they are hydrated and don’t over-exert themselves,” said Thomas Carbone, Andover Director of Public Health. “It is imperative that parents and coaches are making sure that student athletes drink plenty of water even if they’re not thirsty, and take breaks when they need to. Children won’t always speak up for themselves, so it is important that adults keep an eye out.”
In order to ensure that all students are safe when participating in sports and extracurricular activities, the Andover Health Division encourages residents to follow these tips provided by Safe Kids Worldwide:
- Before playing organized sports, make sure your child receives a pre-participation physical exam. In case of emergency, provide your child’s coaches with any important contact and allergy information.
- Athletes should warm up and stretch before games and practices — about 10 minutes of jogging or light activity and stretch all major muscle groups, holding stretches for 20-30 seconds.
- Remember to hydrate. Athletes should drink plenty of water before, during and after play.
- Make sure athletes use appropriate and proper-fitting sports gear for both practices and games. This may include helmets, shin guards, mouth guards, ankle braces, shoes with rubber cleats and sunscreen.
- To help avoid overuse injury, athletes should take breaks during practices and games, and should take at least one or two days off each week from any particular sport.
In very hot weather and high humidity, body temperature can build to dangerous levels causing heat-related illness. Parents and guardians should be aware of the signs of heat exhaustion from the CDC:
- Heavy sweating
- Cold, pale, and clammy skin
- Fast, weak pulse
- Nausea or vomiting
- Muscle cramps
- Feeling tired or weak
- Feeling dizzy
- Fainting (passing out)
Athletes experiencing symptoms of heat exhaustion should move to a cool place, loosen their clothes, sip water and put cool, wet cloths on their body or take a cool bath. Seek immediate medical attention if you are throwing up, your symptoms get worse or symptoms last for more than one hour. If left untreated, heat exhaustion can develop into heatstroke, which can be fatal.
Parents and coaches should also be aware of concussions. If an athlete is suspected of having a concussion, they must be immediately removed from play and evaluated by a health care professional who is familiar with sports concussions. According to the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association, signs of a concussion include:
- Balance problems or dizziness
- Double or fuzzy vision
- Sensitivity to light or noise
- Feeling sluggish, foggy or groggy
- Concentration or memory problems
Anyone with questions or concerns about keeping their children safe during extracurricular sports and activities can contact the Andover Health Division at 978-623-8640.