Sports Safety: The Manual Every Parent Needs


Sprained or strained wrists, knees, or ankles, broken fingers

Preventive Measures


If your child is prone to ankle injuries, consider taping her ankles or having her wear ankle braces in addition to shin guards. If she has heel pain, place a heel pad or cup in her cleats. Make sure she heads the ball properly -- with the forehead -- but in moderation: Research shows that repeated heading of the ball can cause low-grade concussions; the AAP suggests limiting heading drills with kids until more is known.

Often-Overlooked Safety Move

Have your child use a waterproof, synthetic ball on wet fields or when it's raining to decrease risk of injury. Try to minimize your child's tournament play: "Tournaments often have kids playing three to four games over a weekend -- that's ridiculous," says Dr. Malina. "Pros don't play that much. Children get tired and fatigue is a factor in injury."

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