Caring for the young athlete

 Posted on: October 10 2016

As a rights holder or event site manager, you are very familiar with the rules and regulations of holding an event, as well as the insurance and liability coverage that you need to follow to make sure the event goes off smoothly. As a matter of course, most events are required to have medical personnel on site, in case of injury.

Often, the medical provider will also be listed as a sponsor of the event. But how do you know that the medical personnel on hand are the ones who can treat the young athlete?

According to a 2014 ESPN sports poll, more than 87 percent of parents worry about their children getting hurt while playing sports. Injuries, from a knee scrape to more serious fractures and tears, are not uncommon in youth sports. Getting the proper treatment quickly is important, both for the athlete and for you as the event provider.

In a recent ESPNW article, “Helping your athlete kids recover from injury the right way,” author (and mom) Sharon Van Epps shares a conversation she had with Craig Bennett, director of sports medicine at the University of Puget Sound and president of the Washington Athletic Trainers Association. He’s quoted in the article as saying one difference between youth and collegiate athletics is that serious college programs offer players a dedicated, knowledgeable sports medicine staff. In youth sports, it’s often the parents’ job to identify qualified health care providers with expertise in both sports injuries and child development.

“Dealing with youth sports’ injuries is complicated,” Van Epps admits, “and an otherwise excellent pediatrician likely will have no training in sports medicine at all.” Bennett goes on to say that “You need a health care professional who understands that there must be a plan for returning to play.”

“More specialized care immediately after a sports injury can help prevent lifelong problems,” said Dr. Steven Anderson, founder of Seattle Pediatric Sports Medicine. But, he continues, “you will never have enough specialists.”

The long-term care, rehab and return to sports is something that the families of every young athlete needs to consider. As the manager for an event or a facility, you can help make that return to sports a successful one by making sure your on-site medical personnel know how to handle, and are qualified to deal with, youth sports injuries.

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