Back-to-School: It’s game time for sports safety

Consumer Reports News: August 31, 2010 12:09 AM

Good sportsmanship should be a priority for parents, coaches, and players, and can help reduce the number of injuries by limiting dirty play. Take it from me; after an illegal slide tackle on the soccer field my junior year the ligaments in my right knee snapped. After knee surgery, I could never run as fast or maneuver the ball as quickly again. With a focus on respect, sportsmanship, and talented play, dirty tricks on the field can fall by the wayside.

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Another soccer safety tip: always make sure goal posts are securely fastened and anchored. Although soccer fatalities are rare, they usually involve impact with a goalpost. Since 1979 the Consumer Product Safety Commission has logged 28 deaths associated with goal posts. And don’t allow children to climb on soccer posts or hang from the crossbar.

Other sports safety precautions:

Make sure kids remove their shoes and wash their hands after playing on an artificial turf field. A recent Environmental Protection Agency report studied the toxins in artificial turf at a handful of sites. Although the results were not conclusive the methods and findings can pave the way for more comprehensive studies. Consumers Union has rallied to have government agencies assess the risks of levels of lead found in some turf fields.

Hydration is critical, especially in extreme heat, so check that kids have easy access to water, especially young football players suiting up in the hottest parts of the country. And make sure football helmets meet required standards—particularly refurbished ones. Team sports should be fun as well as safe. Go team!

—Maggie Shader

See our previous posts on school safetyNext up: Noisy schools.

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