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The fields are alive with the sound of music and sports: Here’s how to play safely

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Playing fields are overflowing with kids, as school and intramural sports and marching band practices heat up.

"The practices kick off the unofficial start of fall but it's still very warm outside," says Dr. Zachary Geidel, a WellSpan primary care physician who is certified in sports medicine. "We need to be aware of the impact of heat and strenuous exercise, as well as the potential for injuries, as kids hit the fields again."

Keep kids safe with these tips.

Play and march safely

Sports Safety

  • For student athletes who still need a sports physical – which must be completed before their first official day of practice – WellSpan offers a variety of ways to receive that service, which ensures kids are healthy and ready for practice.
    You can schedule an appointment with your WellSpan primary care provider or walk into a care location that offers physicals with no appointment needed. 
  • Athletes, musicians, and the rest of us need adequate hydration in the final dog days of summer, particularly if they are spending hours outside perfecting their sport or musical marching patterns.
    Refrain from sugary sodas, juices and sports drinks and opt for water. If you are sweating heavily, fitness waters can replace electrolytes.
    Cut the body’s weight in half and drink that number of ounces of water a day, drinking before, during and after activities.
  • Make sure your athlete, musician, or kid just squeezing out every drop of fun from the last days of summer is eating healthy food and sleeping enough hours, as well as resting after intense activity. It’s a good time to get the body ready for a more regular schedule that comes with the return to school.
  • If your child sprains or strains anything, follow the RICE method for minor injuries: Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevate.
  • As fall schedules rev up, remember to plan for an off-season, too, by engaging in activities other than one particular sport or pastime, to keep kids engaged in fun year-round.

Zachary Geidel

"We need to be aware of the impact of heat and strenuous exercise, as well as the potential for injuries, as kids hit the fields again."

– Dr. Zachary Geidel

Concussion cautions

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Football, soccer, ice hockey, and lacrosse all feature the potential for mild traumatic brain injury, another word for concussion, which happens after a blow or jolt to the head or a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth.

"It is vital to recognize and treat this potentially dangerous condition in young athletes," Geidel says.

Anywhere from 1.6 to 3.8 million concussions related to sports and recreational activities occur each year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, with about 10% of all contact sport athletes sustaining concussions yearly.

Concussion symptoms can be physical (headache, nausea, vomiting, balance problems, numbness or tingling, dizziness, sensitivity to light or noise), cognitive (mental fog, forgetfulness of recent information or events, difficulty concentrating), emotional (irritability, sadness, nervousness), and related to sleep (drowsy, sleeping more or less than usual, trouble falling asleep).

Signs and symptoms typically resolve in seven to 10 days but some athletes can take weeks or months to recover.

"It is very dangerous to return to the field without a full recovery and a medical release," Geidel said.

If you think your athlete has suffered a potential concussion, get an immediate evaluation from their primary care provider or an urgent care specializing in sports medicine.

WellSpan also has a comprehensive concussion program, which does preseason baseline assessments at local high schools and club sport programs – via a program called ImPACT – which aids in post-injury evaluations. It offers a comprehensive concussion rehabilitation program that provides treatment to recover and safely return to play.

We can help with all of your sports injuries.

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