Back-to-School Sports Safety Tips

By Sue Wilson, American Red Cross Board Member and Volunteer Partner

August is called the “dog days of summer” for a reason. It’s the hottest month of the year for most parts of the country and this year, especially, much of the nation is suffering wave after wave of brutal heat.Icon Disaster

So when I see high school football players on practice fields, I immediately flash back to the dreaded “two-a-days.” Back in my day (yes, I’m a baby-boomer) our very football-oriented high school coaches worked the players hard in the heat twice a day during the hottest months of the summer. I’d hear about— and even witness—guys in my class pass out, get sick and suffer from what was probably heat stroke or exhaustion, as they worked out in their pads day after day in the heat. I think it was a badge of honor somehow if you made it through. However, I thought it looked barbaric. Back then, we didn’t talk about things like the importance of hydration, or the concern over head injuries and long-term damage from concussions and warming up and cooling down as we practice.

Thankfully, we know a lot more now about sports safety. But whether you are male or female, or play one of the many fall and winter sports indoors or out, back-to-school time is a good time to think about sports safety.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) offers some great tips to keep kids safe on the field, the court or wherever they participate in sports and recreation activities. Here are some of these tips and a few others:

Use the right equipment: Make sure kids use the right gear for the right sport and use it for both practice and the game. It is important they use protective gear like helmets, wrist guards, knee or elbow pads.

Make sure the gear fits and is in good shape: Check the equipment to assure it is in

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

good condition, fits appropriately and is worn correctly all the time—for example, avoid missing or broken buckles or compressed or worn padding.

Warm up, cool down: Before starting (or ending) any form of activity, it is important to warm up the muscles by stretching, walking and easing into the practice. At the end, the reverse is also important, so slow down and cool down. Diving right into a strenuous activity without a warm-up can cause pulled muscles, strains and potential injuries. 

Get an action plan in place: Be sure your child’s sports program or school has an action plan that includes information on how to teach athletes ways to lower their chances of getting a concussion and other injuries. Get more concussion safety tips.

Be mindful of temperature: On extremely hot or humid days, allow time for the athlete to gradually adjust to the environments to prevent heat-related injuries or illness. Parents and coaches should pay attention to each player’s activity level, give breaks and make sure they are well hydrated and appropriately dressed. The same is true in extremely cold climates. Parents and coaches need to watch for signs of heat stroke or exhaustion and frostbite and hypothermia .

Be a good role model: No one wants to be that crazy sports parent (we all know the type) screaming at the coaches and the kids from the stands. Most coaches in youth sports are volunteers and should be supported and appreciated not verbally abused. You can help promote sportsmanship from the sidelines and the stands by being respectful not only to the coaches, but to your child, their teammates, coaches, opposing teams and the officials. As a good sports parent, you can help promote sportsmanship from the sidelines and in the stands.

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Prepare for an emergency: As a parent, coach or fan, it is always helpful to know basic first aid and CPR. The American Red Cross offers First Aid/CPR/AED classes and has an excellent First Aid App for your phone. Having this knowledge could be a lifesaver in just about any situation including and beyond sports. Find out more about classes and download one of the many free mobile apps here.

Raising Awareness: National CPR and AED Awareness Week

By Brad Galvan, American Red Cross Volunteer

Arguably more important than National Doughnut Day or National Turkey Lovers Day (both real), comes National CPR and AED Awareness Week.

On December 13, 2007, Congress unanimously passed a resolution to set aside June 1-7 each year as National CPR and AED Awareness Week to spotlight how lives can be saved if more Americans know CPR and how to use an AED.

Icon PreparednessThe American Red Cross recognizes and celebrates this week by encouraging as many community members as possible to take get trained and acclimated to both CPR and AED utilization.  We also recognize individuals who have saved the lives of others by performing CPR and using an AED (automated external defibrillator.)  See the stories of the heroes we honored recently in Cleveland and Akron on our YouTube Channel.

CPR and AED utilization has saved countless lives; the reason? It’s because another person remembered past training and stepped up. People helping others is the cornerstone of thriving communities.

The Red Cross has many opportunities for community members to get trained with these life-saving skills. There are countless classes in varying formats: in-person, online and simulated, to teach both adult and pediatric CPR. Visit https://www.redcross.org/take-a-class/cpr/cpr-training/cpr-classes for a listing.

BigRed Manikin (002)Those taking hands-on training will benefit from practicing skills on the new state of the art BigRed™ LightSaving Manikin. The manikin will increase students’ confidence that they can save a life in emergency situations, as it is equipped with three interrelated sets of lights that provide immediate feedback to students on how they are performing CPR. Only the proper technique will show the success of blood circulating from the heart to the brain which improves a sudden cardiac arrest victim’s chance of survival.

The free Red Cross First Aid App provides users with instant access on how to perform Hands-Only CPR and information on sudden cardiac arrest, heart attacks and other emergencies.

How are you going to step up and observe this important week?

Hands-Only CPR Can Help Save Lives

By Brad Galvan, American Red Cross Volunteer

When most people face a life-and-death situation, the fewer things they need to think about, the better! A few simple steps can save a life when an adult is found unresponsive from an apparent cardiac episode.

Ready? Here they are:

  1. Call 9-1-1
  2. Be sure you are safe in your surroundings
  3. Check for a pulse.  If none is found –
  4. Push hard and fast on the victim

Hands-only CPR is now taught at many schools, churches and organizations by the American Red Cross. It’s an effective tool for laypeople to help save lives while waiting for emergency personnel to arrive.

Those who are taught hands-only CPR feel prepared if they were to be in the situation where they encounter an adult who has had a cardiac issue. Sherwin-Williams employees recently received hands-only CPR training.

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Dennis Karnstein and other Sherwin-Williams employees learn hands-only CPR

“Many thanks to the American Red Cross for conducting CPR training at our headquarters this week,” said Dennis Karnstein, President and General Manager, Sherwin-Williams Industrial Wood Division. “Absolutely nothing in this world is more precious than human life, and it’s great to know that our employees are now equipped with the potentially life-saving skills they need to jump in should emergency strike.”

Dennis is also a member of the Greater Cleveland Chapter Board of Directors.

Red Cross volunteer instructor Sharon Nicastro thinks that people may be nervous about the complexity or contact involved with traditional mouth-to-mouth CPR that is available for those seeking certification.  She believes that hands-only CPR is a great solution, and she is helping to spread the word, suggesting that all organizations reach out to the Red Cross to arrange a time for their members, employees and associates to get trained in the hands-only method.

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Red Cross hands-only CPR Instructor, volunteer Sharon Nicastro.  Photo credit: Jim McIntyre/American Red Cross

 

Please do your fellow humans a favor and follow this link to see a video to get familiar with the hands-only technique: http://www.redcross.org/get-help/prepare-for-emergencies/be-red-cross-ready/hands-only-cpr