When Tory Lindley, the president of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association, learned that only about 25 percent of parents surveyed by the NATA said they had considered asking their child's sports program about it's athletic training services, he was shocked.
“I was hoping it was going to be better,” Lindley said. “It was surprising to me parents don’t think about it more and have that blind faith and trust.”
Parents are constantly worried about their child’s safety, especially when it comes to sports. Despite that, they don’t always ask about how teams or organizations are keeping athletes safe. Lindley believes that is an issue that could stem from a number of things. Here are four things he said parents can do to help assure their child is safe when he or she heads out to their respective sport.
Lindley himself is a parent of three athletes. As an athletic trainer, he thinks about his kids’ sporting ventures from that perspective.
“I think it’s just inherent for me as a trainer to think about safety and those sorts of things,” he said.
One of the first things Lindley says parents should do is ask questions. It starts with the simple question of whether there’s an athletic trainer on site.
Next, Lindley recommends asking about what the emergency action plan is. That is something the trainer should know. The action plan has to do with how trainers handle a catastrophic injury situation like heat stroke or a severe head injury.
Make Sure Coaches Are Informed
If a coach doesn’t know different training techniques, Lindley recommends he or she learn along with the rest of the organization.
“There are really positive stories about coaches who know the techniques and can help athletes if they suffer an injury,” Lindley said.
He added that it's also important for coaches to know about equipment safety.
“When the organization makes the investment in health and safety, the participation is going to reap huge benefits,” he said.
Take Ownership Of Your Child’s Safety
It’s important for parents to also have a solid base of information. There are countless resources for parents to use and become more educated on keeping athletes safe. Lindley recommends NATA.org for starters.
“Parents need to be more responsible and take ownership of health and safety,” Lindley said. “There are experts out there and most are happy to point you in the right direction.”
Lindley says it’s easy for parents to just think that their team or sports organization has thought through how to handle injuries.
“Athletic trainers aren’t everywhere,” Lindley said. “Parents are with children along the way in youth sports. They should be there and be aware of the risks that could come.”
For Lindley and others, it comes down to parents being in the know on how their children are being kept safe.
“When we lease or buy a car, we ask more questions about that than what soccer league safety precautions are being put in place with our kids,” Lindley said. “There needs to be a paradigm shift.
“We can’t assume because we’re handing our kids off to adults that the adults are going to be responsible for their safety.”
From GameChanger and Ryan Williamson
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