Intramural college sports are a very important part of life for many college students. Intramural sports help college students meet new friends, stay active, and continue interests they may have started in high school or middle school. As fun and beneficial as intramural collegiate sports can be, safety should always be the top priority during practices and games. Many college students have experienced injuries, some of them serious; and in some extreme and sad cases even fatalities have occurred. Safety is very important during college sports. Here are a few tips to make sure you stay safe on the playing field no matter what sport you play.
Plan for an Emergency
There should always be a plan in case of an emergency. Coaches and other players and staff should be trained in CPR, the use of an AED, and basic first aid. Phones should be available for calling the EMS if needed. AEDs and first aid kit should be readily available during all practices and games.
Warm Ups and Cool Downs
As with any other vigorous exercise it is important to warm up and cool down before and after practices and games. Warming up will loosen up the muscles and increase blood flow, which decreases the chance of injury. Stretching will also decrease the chance of injury. Cooling down after practices and games helps the body return to a resting state by slowly decreasing heart rate and respirations. Stretching can decrease soreness.
Proper Equipment and Clothing
Make sure you have the proper equipment for your sport. Inspect safety gear such as helmets, pads, or mouth guards to ensure they are intact and working properly. Safety gear that is not in working condition can lead to serious injuries such as a concussion or broken bones. Make sure sports equipment like baseball bats or hockey sticks are in good repair. Wear appropriate clothing for weather condition if your sport takes place outside. Layering clothing is always a good idea for cooler weather. If you will be playing or practicing in warmer weather make sure to wear breathable type clothing.
Whether your sport is indoors or outdoors, always make sure the conditions are safe. If your sport is played outside, pay attention to the weather. Sometimes weather conditions such as extreme heat or lightening may warrant canceling a game or practice or moving indoors.
Intramural college sports should be fun and engaging. If you have a safety concern be sure to bring it to the attention of your coach of other league official. If you believe you have suffered an injury, seek medical attention. Serious injuries can occur in any sport, on real grass or synthetic grass. Proper care of a sustained injury can have you back on the playing field sooner. Following these safety tips cannot guarantee there will not be any injuries, but can significantly reduce the risk.
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