April is National Youth Sports Safety month. Not only does Tim Monsees devote a significant portion of his practice to victims of sporting and recreational injury, he spent over 20 years as a youth coach in baseball. Hence, Tim brings a unique perspective to how to avoid sports injuries and also how to pursue proper compensation for victims. Avoidance of youth sports injuries is all about two factors; proper training and proper equipment. Occasionally the conditions of the playing field, pitch, ice or court are contributory, but far more injuries are a result of poor coaching and inappropriate equipment.

Thankfully, thousands of moms and dads devote their time to coaching. Not all have any background to coach, and many may never have played the game they now coach. That, by itself, does not equate to poor coaching. Rather, such folks simply need to recognize that they need to reach out beyond their own experiences to learn proper techniques and fundamentals for the sport they intend to coach. Every year there are countless coaching clinics for nearly every sport. In addition, the explosion of facilities for individual coaching of skills has become a major industry. Not only can the individual child gain skills and knowledge from such experts in a field, attendance by the father, mother or independent coach, can assist in education that can be passed along to other players. The internet is filled with sites that offer videos for coaching skills, drills and strategies. Simply stated, an 8-year old 2nd baseman cannot protect himself from a sharply hit groundball, if he hasn’t been taught the proper skills on how to field. The same scenario carries over into nearly every sport. Make sure your coach is either truly experienced for the sport he or she is coaching or inquire about what measures are being undertaken to gain the proper expertise.

Equipment is also a large factor. Baseball gloves, for instance, are much easier and efficient to use than ones common even a decade ago, and chances are excellent that dragging out Dad’s old glove that last saw action in 1983 is economical, but unwise. Equipment should be up to date, especially helmets and body armor. However, modern, quality equipment is not enough. For baseball, catcher’s gear should fit properly. Don’t buy gear that the player can “grow into.” Loose fitting equipment exposes a child to injuries proper fitting equipment may prevent. If you do not have the experience to properly choose and fit equipment, make sure your child is taken to a store or training facility that does.

In short, don’t interfere with the coaching your child receives, but educate yourself sufficiently to know when your child is at risk. There is a difference. If your child becomes a victim of a sports-related injury, see the experts at Monsees & Mayer, P.C.