In the past two months, our family has been seriously injury-prone.
My oldest son broke his collarbone riding a skateboard; my youngest son sprained his wrist playing soccer; and my daughter twisted her knee running cross country.
After six x-rays, five doctor’s visits, two braces, a sling, and a splint, I’m now best friends with both our doctor and the school nurse.
4 Tips for Kids and Sports Injuries
But, beyond permanently wrapping them in bubble wrap, how can we as moms best care for our kids through an injury?
As a former athlete, my first reaction to my kids’ sports injuries is to dust them off and tell them to get back in the game. I’ve had to train myself over the years to slow down and begin by offering comfort. Whether it be a hurt shoulder or merely hurt pride because their team is getting crushed, every kid can use a huge hug in the moment.
As moms, we know our kids best. We can usually determine whether they’re truly injured or if they need to dig deep and fight through the pain. If my sons no longer care about the game because they are so consumed with pain, that’s usually a sure sign to get to the doctor.
Seek Medical Attention
I’m typically a “let’s wait and see how you feel in the morning” kind of mom. I offer ice and Tylenol and ice cream, because everyone feels better with ice cream. And most times, the injuries are minor enough that a little pain relief and cookies & cream does the trick.
I tend to hold out on visiting the doctor. It’s expensive and finding a clinic and waiting to be seen is a hassle. Why does it never fail that your kid gets injured in the evening or on the weekend when your primary care doctor is closed? Best advice: familiarize yourself with local walk-in clinics now before you need them.
We waited a day before getting my son’s collarbone x-rayed. He knew immediately it was broken. Sure enough, he was right! I wised up after that experience and when my younger son hurt his wrist in a soccer game I took him in for an x-ray…….wait for it…..the same day. Progress!! This time it wasn’t broken, but I had peace of mind knowing how to best to treat his injury instead of wondering each time he moaned and groaned.
Communicate With Schools and Coaches
If your child’s injury limits his physical activity, notify the school nurse and any coaches. The school usually requires a doctor’s note or fax to implement the restrictions and then another to release those restrictions once healed. If you can get a hard copy of the letter, do it! After days of tracking down missing faxes, I found it was much quicker to get a hard copy of the letter, submit it to the school nurse, and let her pass it along to the various teachers and coaches.
Be Their Biggest Fan
Sports injuries are hard on kids. Often times they can’t participate in something they love or are unable to perform tasks that are usually easy. They might feel left out of their team or wonder about their value now that they’re on the sidelines. All of this leads to frustration, worry and insecurity and presents a wonderful opportunity for you as a mom.
You get to be their biggest fan. You can cheer them along in their recovery and help them discover their worth and value outside of their performance. More than ever they will need your listening ears and your understanding words.
It’s heartbreaking to see your kids unable to do the things they love to do. But you can save the day, mom. Your assurance and unconditional love will carry them through this season of doubt and disappointment, ensuring they’ll reach the other side healed and whole, in more ways than one.