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1000 SW Jackson Suite 230
Topeka, KS 66612-1274
(785) 296-1223
(785) 296-8649 (FAX)

Jan Stegelman

Executive Committee:
Randall Bolin

Dennis Cooley, MD
Medical Advisor
American Academy of
Pediatrics, Kansas

John Drees
Douglas County
SAFE KIDS Coalition

John Halbran
Kansas Safety Belt
Education Office

Jim Keating
Kansas State
Firefighters Association

Elena Nuss
Kansas State
Fire Marshal's Office

Cindy Samuelson
Kansas Hospital Association

For Immediate Release:
March 5, 2007

KDHE Office of Communications, 785-296-0461

Gear Up and Warm Up for Spring Sports Safety

Safe Kids Kansas Offers Sports Safety Tips

Each year, nationwide, more than 3.5 million children ages 14 and under are treated for sports injuries. Roughly half of these injuries are sustained in solo activities, especially biking, skating and skateboarding, but a pproximately one out of four participants in youth soccer, football or baseball has been injured at least once. About 15 percent of kids playing basketball have been injured, and 12 percent of kids playing softball.

In team sports, most injuries (62 percent) occur during practices, not games. “Always insist that your kids wear the same protective gear, do the same warmups and take all the same precautions when they practice as when they’re getting ready for a game,” says Jan Stegelman, Safe Kids Kansas coordinator.

“When we think of sports injuries, we think of dramatic tackles or falls or being hit in the head, but young athletes are also at risk of strains and repetitive-motion injuries,” says Stegelman. “If your coach recommends certain types of warmups, it’s not just to make you a better athlete; it will help keep you from getting hurt.” Repetitive-motion injuries account for nearly half of all sports injuries to students in grade 6 and above.

In a 2000 survey by Safe Kids Worldwide, 30 percent of parents said their child had been injured at least once while playing a team sport, 15 percent said their child had been injured more than once and about 7 percent said their child suffered a serious injury. “Contact sports have a higher rate of injuries than solo sports, but injuries from solo sports such as biking or skateboarding tend to be more severe,” says Stegelman.

Safe Kids Kansas recommends these precautions for all children playing or practicing any individual or team sport:

  • Before signing up for a sport, get a general physical exam.
  • Always wear appropriate protective gear for the activity, for practice as well as games, and make sure it’s the right size and properly adjusted.
  • Do your warmups. Again, if it’s important before a game, it’s important before practice too.
  • Have adult supervision. Make sure responsible adults know and enforce the safety rules of the sport and are trained in first aid and CPR. Also, make sure the field is in safe condition.
  • Never “play through” an injury. Get immediate help from a coach or trainer and be sure to mention everything that hurts or aches.
  • Follow the rules. In most sports, the rules are based not only on sportsmanship, but safety.

Last but not least: “Stay hydrated,” says Stegelman. “Drink plenty of water or electrolyte sports drink before and during the activity, and rest frequently during hot weather. A child can lose up to a quart of sweat during two hours of exercise, and kids get overheated more quickly than adults and cannot cool down as easily.”

For more information about sports safety, visit

Safe Kids Kansas, Inc. is a nonprofit Coalition of 67 statewide organizations and businesses dedicated to preventing accidental injuries to Kansas children ages 0-14. Local coalitions and chapters are located in Allen, Anderson, Atchison, Clay, Coffey, Dickinson, Doniphan, Douglas, Ellis, Finney, Ford, Franklin, Geary, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Leavenworth, Marion, Marshall, McPherson, Meade, Mitchell, Montgomery, Nemaha, Osage, Pottawatomie, Republic, Rice, Riley, Saline, Smith, Shawnee, Wabaunsee, Wilson and Woodson Counties, as well as the cities of Chanute, Emporia, Leavenworth, Norton, Pittsburg, the Wichita Area and the Metro Kansas City Area. Safe Kids Kansas a member of Safe Kids Worldwide , a global network of organizations whose mission is to prevent accidental childhood injury.