Educational Meeting for Coaches
Consider holding an informational and educational meeting for local coaches on the importance of sports safety and how to prevent overuse injuries. (See Sample Agenda) Invite a well-known local sports trainer or physician who works with young athletes to discuss the types of overuse and trauma injuries, how to recognize and prevent injuries, and how to deal with emergencies at practice and during play. The STOP Sports Injuries website (www.STOPSportsInjuries.org) contains a wealth of materials about overuse and prevention that can be tailored to almost any youth sport, including customizable PowerPoint presentations. Hold the event at a local school and provide coaches with information they can pass on to players and parents.
This sort of event gives participants a chance to discuss with one another the challenges they face in preventing short- and long-term injury in players. Athletes often may feel pressure to return to the playing field too soon after an injury, and coaches can be a big influence in making sure this does not happen.
Tie your event to a national theme like April’s National Youth Sports Safety Month and hold a media event to reinforce the importance of sports safety and how to prevent overuse injuries. Star power is often the key to capturing the attention of local media. Identify a professional athlete with community ties and invite him or her to act as a spokesperson. Link the event to a specific sports event and hold a press conference at a field where youth are playing to guarantee an audience of athletes and parents. Ask a youth sports league official or local physician if they know of an articulate youth who has suffered from an overuse injury and would be willing to tell his or her story. Of course, have STOP Sports Injuries materials on hand to pass out to the media, parents, coaches, and youth.
Look for an existing event in your community, such as a youth community fair, as a way to spread the STOP Sports Injuries messages. Set up a booth and hand out materials and prizes for kids. Consider different props for your booth to attract event visitors. Be sure to visit the STOP Sports Injuries online calendar for events that may be occurring in your area and reach out to event points of contact and offer assistance.