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Health Information Summer Sports Safety

Summer Recreation: Protecting Against Injury

While safety is an important consideration for organized sports like baseball and softball (see “Making the Diamond Less Rough”), avoiding injury is just as important for other summer activities.

Beyond Little League, there’s also fun to be had in sports and games that are put together with family and neighbors. “Casual play is fantastic,” says Mjaanes. “In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics feels so strongly that casual play is important they recently released a consensus statement stressing the importance of ‘down-time’ and casual play in our overly-scheduled children’s lives,” he says.

“As for safety, make sure they have proper equipment, the necessary protective gear, and that they follow the rules as well as have adult supervision (for younger children) and a contact person in case of emergency.”

Some tips for protecting against injury for popular summer activities:

  • Biking – A properly-fitted helmet (snug, not loose) is a must. “Helmets help prevent over 80 percent of head injuries in young cyclists — injuries that can potentially lead to permanent disability or death,” according to Mjaanes. “Also, make sure they are riding during the day or on well-lit paths in the twilight and after dark, following the rules of the road and are not distracted (listening to music or talking on a cell phone, for example) while biking.”


  • Roller skating – Always wear a helmet and wrist guards. “Wrist fractures are extremely common from skaters who try to catch themselves while falling, so wrist guards are very important,” says Mjaanes. “Ideally, shin/knee guards and elbow guards should be worn as well.”


  • Skateboarding – The same tips apply to skate boarders as to roller skaters. Wear a helmet at all times and guard against injury to the wrists, shins and knees by wearing protective gear.


  • Scooters – Children on scooters should wear a helmet. “Wrist guards cannot be worn easily because then the child cannot steer properly, so wrist fractures are unfortunately common on scooters,” Mjaanes says.


  • Shoes with wheels (or “wheelies”) – Same tips apply as to skate boarders and roller skaters. Wear a helmet at all times and guard against injury to the wrists, shins and knees by wearing protective gear.

    “The real danger with shoes with wheels is that parents do not see them as dangerous,” says Mjaanes. “Kids in ‘wheelies’ should really be wearing a helmet and wrist guards, just as they would on roller skates — or they should not wear them at all. The number of injuries — broken elbows and wrists as well as concussions — in the last year from these wheeled tennis shoes is astounding.”

Always consult your child’s physician for more information about keeping your young athlete safer.

More Information at Your Fingertips:
  • For more information about sports medicine services at Rush visit ourSports Medicine home page.
  • Looking for a doctor? Call toll free: 888 352-RUSH (888 352-7874)

Please note: All physicians featured in Discover Rush Online are on the medical faculty of Rush University Medical Center. Some of the physicians featured are in private practice and, as independent practitioners, are not agents or employees of Rush University Medical Center.

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