Safe Kids USA and Johnson & Johnson Aim to Help Parents and Coaches Protect Young Athletes On and Off the Field
National Survey Finds Parents and Coaches Need More Youth Sports Safety Information
Washington, D.C. – A majority of parents of young athletes recognize the importance of sports safety, but lack confidence in their own ability and the ability of coaches to prevent and recognize symptoms of key sports injuries according to a survey released today to kick off Safe Kids USA Sports Safety Week.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 3.5 million children age 14 and under are treated for sports-related injuries each year, and as many as half of these injuries are preventable. Commissioned by Safe Kids USA and Johnson & Johnson, the “National Survey of Parents’ Knowledge, Attitudes and Self-Reported Behaviors Concerning Sports Safety” finds that just 29 percent of parents surveyed feel coaches have the necessary skills to identify and prevent injuries and just 40 percent feel confident in their own abilities.
On the positive side, parents are clearly focused on the topic of youth sports safety and have a strong desire for forums that will provide them with information. In addition, overwhelming majorities of parents report that their young athletes wear properly fitted equipment (88%), drink fluids regularly (85%), warm up before playing (76%), and take the same precautions when practicing as when playing in a game (73%) – significant increases from findings in a similar survey conducted a decade ago.
In response to the findings, Safe Kids USA and Johnson & Johnson are sponsoring a national education campaign on Youth Sports Safety, which builds on a national awareness program initiated in 2010. The goal of this campaign is to provide parents, coaches and league organizers the knowledge and skills essential to help keep children safe in sports.
With funding from Johnson & Johnson, Safe Kids USA’s coalitions will host more than 100 free Sports Safety clinics nationwide for parents, coaches and young athletes from April through this summer. In addition, Safe Kids USA and Johnson & Johnson have partnered to conduct a free Youth Sports Safety Webcast on Monday, May 2, at 12 PM EDT to teach more about how to keep children safe in sports.
Featured participants in the Webcast include:
Dr. Angela Mickalide, MCHES, Director of Research and Programs, Safe Kids Worldwide;
Former NFL star and Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young;
Dr. Gerard Gioia, director of the Safe Concussion Outcome, Recovery & Education (SCORE) Program at Children’s National Medical Center; and
Dr. Douglas Casa, ATC FACSM, FNATA, and chief operating officer with the Korey Stringer Institute, Neag School of Education, for the University of Connecticut.
“Parents and coaches have a very important role to play in keeping children safe and injury free,” said Dr. Angela Mickalide, MCHES, director of research and programs, Safe Kids Worldwide. “It begins with having the right attitude and realistic expectations for children about sports and then knowing how to help them prepare properly, prevent injuries and play safely.”
Conducted by Hart Research Associates as a follow-up to a similar survey conducted in 2000, the national telephone survey of 751 parents of youth athletes ages 5 to 14, updates important trends and benchmark findings related to sports participation and sports safety. It also explores emerging topics of concern such as overuse or “stress” injuries, as well as concussions and dehydration.
Notable results from the survey:
Kids today often are involved in more than one sport with an increased focus on team play, but spending less time actually participating in each sport.
The number of these young athletes who have sustained multiple injuries while playing team sports has increased significantly, jumping from 15 percent in 2000 to 21 percent today. The most prevalent types of sport-related injuries continue to be sprains, muscle strains, bone or growth plate injuries and heat-related illness.
67% of parents believe that football poses the greatest risk of injury to their children, far outpacing hockey (10%), soccer (6%) and baseball/softball (5%).
Parents view their child’s involvement in team sports as positive with a number of benefits including learning the value of teamwork, creating healthy habits, promoting fun and fostering friendships.
57% of parents said that their children’s coaches are certified in CPR, keeps a first-aid kit on hand during play and have an up-to-date copy of their kid’s medical history.
The Safe Kids Sports Safety clinics and Webcast will focus on four key areas: the importance of a pre-participation evaluation for a child with his/her physician prior to play; overuse injuries; dehydration and heat-related illness; and concussions.
Visit www.safekids.org/sports for more information about these upcoming programs.
As part of its educational campaign, Safe Kids USA and Johnson & Johnson have partnered with media companies to develop and run public service announcements (PSAs) about the prevention of youth sports injury:
Nickelodeon will air the PSA “Benched”—which illustrates the importance of parents and kids taking the proper steps to prevent sports injuries—throughout the spring on TeenNick, Nickelodeon and Nick at Nite.
AOL will also feature web banner PSAs from now through June 15.
About Safe Kids USA
Safe Kids USA is a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, which is a global network of organizations whose mission is to prevent unintentional childhood injury, the leading cause of death and disability to children ages 1 to 14.
More than 600 coalitions and chapters across the U.S. and nineteen member countries across the globe bring together health and safety experts, educators, corporations, foundations, governments and volunteers to educate and protect families.
Founded in 1987 as the National SAFE KIDS Campaign by Children’s National Medical Center with support from Johnson & Johnson, Safe Kids Worldwide is a 501© (3) non-profit organization located in Washington, D.C.
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