Organized team sports

By Debbie Friedman, Director, Montreal Children's Hospital Trauma

Participating in organized team sports, such as ball hockey, football, baseball, basketball, cheerleading, field hockey, gymnastics, ice hockey, ringette, roller hockey, rugby, or soccer, is a great way for children and teens to be active while having fun. Not only can it help improve their physical wellbeing, develop their social skills, increase their self-esteem, it also promotes teamwork, respect, leadership and encourages a sense of responsibility.

Each year, 20% of the total number of cases seen at The Montreal Children’s Hospital Emergency Department results from a traumatic injury. Approximately 1500 of these injuries are sustained while playing organized sports. More than half of these injuries occur while playing hockey and soccer, followed by football and basketball. The most common injuries seen include sprains, strains, fractures and concussions.
To prevent injury to themselves or others, team players should:
  • Warm up and stretch prior to practice or play, and cool down afterwards.
  • Wear approved protective sport specific equipment. Make sure it fits properly and is well maintained.
  • Wear a mouth guard for dental protection when participating in contact sports.
  • Wear the appropriate footwear for the playing surface and the sport.
  • Use proper technique, and practice skills under the guidance of a coach.
  • Be respectful and practice fair play.

Coaches and parents have an important role too. They should make sure that:

  • Skill training is provided by certified instructors.
  • They work together to encourage and promote
  • Playing surfaces are well maintained.
  • Zero tolerance toward intentional violence is taught and enforced.
  • Players know and respect the rules of the game at all times.
  • A First Aid kit is available at the playing venue.
  • Players never play through an injury. Seek medical attention when an injury is suspected. Respect the guidelines and activity restrictions prescribed to ensure a full recovery. A gradual return to sports is encouraged to make sure that the player is physically and psychologically ready to play and will avoid re-injury.
Have a great fall season!