Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital
New Brunswick • Somerset

Safe Kids Middlesex County Announces Launch of Youth Sports Safety Clinics

April 21, 2010

New Brunswick, NJ — Safe Kids Middlesex County, a program led by the Level 1 Trauma Center at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH), is pleased to announce the launch of the new youth sports safety clinics, part of Safe Kids USA’s new Safe Sports initiative.

Safe Kids Middlesex County

In partnership with athletic trainers and other youth sports experts, these clinics will arm coaches, parents and league organizers with the knowledge and skills essential to keeping Central Jersey’s children from sustaining sports-related injuries so that they are able to remain healthy and active.

“More than 30 million children participate in sports each year in the United States. Of those 30 million, approximately 3.5 million children under the age of 14 are treated for sports-related injuries in hospitals, clinics and emergency rooms,” said Diana Starace, Safe Kids Middlesex County Coordinator and Injury Prevention Coordinator at RWJUH.

Working together with the National Athletic Trainer’s Association and their athletic trainers, Safe Kids Middlesex County will implement clinics in May and August for all coaches, parent volunteers, physical education teachers and school nurses in Perth Amboy and Woodbridge who are involved in recreational and scholastic sports.

These clinics will address all sports, from soccer and baseball to football, tennis and cheerleading.

In addition, these clinics will be offered to summer camp and YMCA staff, as they are responsible for providing sports activities for campers throughout the summer season.

Safe Kids Middlesex County was selected as one of 20 coalitions across the country to receive $2,000 in funding for the Safe Sports clinics from Safe Kids USA, supported by founding sponsor Johnson & Johnson.

This new initiative focuses on four components critical to keeping young athletes healthy and injury-free: preventing acute and overuse injuries, proper hydration before, during and after play, annual pre-season medical screenings for each athlete and finally, concussion awareness, prevention and screening methods.

Here are five important sports safety tips from Safe Kids Middlesex County that all coaches, parents and league organizers can use to prevent sports-related injuries:

  • Pre-Season Medical Screening: Every child should receive an annual pre-participation physical evaluation (PPE). These exams may prevent or treat any underlying conditions the young athlete may have.
  • Safety gear: To prevent acute injuries, children playing sports should have access to and consistently use well-maintained safety equipment during both practices and games.
  • Qualified coaching: Athletic coaches should be trained in both first aid and CPR, have a plan for responding to emergencies and have current knowledge of both safety rules and proper equipment use. Sports programs with certified Athletic Trainers on staff are ideal because they are trained to prevent or provide immediate care for athletic injuries.
  • Proper Conditioning: To prevent acute and overuse injuries, coaches should teach young athletes proper routines for both warm-ups and cool-downs before and after practice and play. Sixty-two percent of sports-related injuries occur during practice rather than in a game.
  • Hydration: Athletes should be encouraged to drink water before, during and after practice and competition.
  • Rest: If young athletes are very tired or in pain, coaches and parents should encourage them to rest, not to play, as this valuable recovery time can help prevent acute and overuse injuries.
  • Attend a sports safety course: Clinics such as those hosted by Safe Kids Middlesex County provide information and best practices to keep young athletes optimally healthy and injury-free. Contact Safe Kids Middlesex County at (732) 418-8026 to learn more or to attend a sports safety clinic in your area.

“Children ages 5 to 14 account for nearly 40 percent of all sports-related injuries treated in hospital emergency departments,” added Starace. “Our goal is to reach coaches and parents through these clinics and equip them with the critical information and resources to keep kids out of the emergency room.”

For more information on Safe Kids Middlesex County’s sports safety clinics or sports injury prevention in general, please call Safe Kids Middlesex County at (732) 418-8026 or visit www.safekids.org/sports.

About Safe Kids Middlesex County

Safe Kids Middlesex County works to prevent unintentional childhood injury, the leading cause of death and disability to children ages 1 to 14. Its members include injury prevention advocates from local government, civic organizations, businesses and health care organizations. Safe Kids Middlesex County is a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations dedicated to preventing unintentional injury. Safe Kids Middlesex County was founded in 2003 and is led by the Level One Trauma Center at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital.

About Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital

Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) is a 965-bed academic medical center with campuses in New Brunswick and Somerville, NJ. Its Centers of Excellence include cardiovascular care from minimally invasive heart surgery to transplantation, cancer care, stroke care, neuroscience, joint replacement, and women’s and children’s care including The Bristol-Myers Squibb Children’s Hospital at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (www.bmsch.org). As the flagship Cancer Hospital of Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and the principal teaching hospital of Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick, RWJUH is an innovative leader in advancing state-of-the-art care. A Level 1 Trauma Center and the only Pediatric Trauma Center in the state, RWJUH’s New Brunswick campus serves as a national resource in its ground-breaking approaches to emergency preparedness.

RWJUH has been ranked among the best hospitals in America by U.S. News & World Report seven times and has been selected by the publication as a high performing hospital in numerous specialties. The Bristol-Myers Squibb Children’s Hospital has been ranked among the best hospitals in America by U.S. News & World Report for three consecutive years.

Both the New Brunswick and Somerset campuses have earned significant national recognition for clinical quality and patient safety, including the prestigious Magnet® Award for Nursing Excellence, an “A” patient safety rating from the Leapfrog Group and “Most Wired” designation by Hospitals and Health Networks Magazine. The Joint Commission and the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services have designated the New Brunswick Campus as a Comprehensive Stroke Center and the Somerset Campus as a Primary Stroke Center.

The American College of Surgeons’ Commission on Cancer has rated RWJUH New Brunswick among the nation’s best comprehensive cancer centers and designated the Steeplechase Cancer Center at RWJ Somerset as a Comprehensive Community Cancer Center. The Joint Surgery Center at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset has earned the Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval for total knee and total hip replacement surgery.