May 12, 2011

Program to offer free sports safety clinics for children

Program to offer free sports safety clinics for children

An estimated 3.5 million children receive medical treatment for a sports-related injury each year.

In an effort to reduce that number, Safe Kids Cumberland Valley and its lead agency, the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt, will host free youth sports safety clinics that provide information on topics such as overuse and acute injuries, hydration, heat-related injury, concussion and safety equipment.

“Sports are important for children to develop fitness and strength, build self-esteem and confidence and learn to be part of a team. It's not a zero risk endeavor, but the benefits outweigh the risks. We're working to find better ways to let kids do what they love,” said Alex Diamond, D.O., assistant professor of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation and Pediatrics and project coordinator for the sports safety clinics.

Safe Kids Cumberland Valley, the local Safe Kids coalition representing 41 counties in Middle Tennessee, was one of 50 sites nationwide to receive grant funding to support sports safety clinics.

Organizers plan to host two clinics in Davidson County and one in Williamson County in the coming months.

At the clinics, physicians, athletic trainers, physical therapists and other safety experts will discuss key sports safety messages with youth athletes and parents as well as coaches, school personnel and health care professionals. The clinics are free and open to anyone interested.

“Concussions and other injuries have been in the news, and we've found that people are listening to it and are ready to talk about prevention,” said Sarah Haverstick, safe children program manager.

“These clinics can make a tangible difference. We're taking those who are most involved in youth sports and giving them the tools they need to make lasting effects on safety.”

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