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In the News, Sports Medicine | Aug 12, 2019

Fall is coming, and that means football season. Is your youngster longing for football to start? Here are four things to think about and discuss before you sign them up.

Is football right for your child – and for you?

Football is an extremely physical sport, with full body contact at times, and there can be a lot of aggression. Before signing your child up for football, make sure they know it’s intensely physical, and gauge whether or not they have the right personality and drive for this particular sport. You’ll also need to make sure you as a parent are emotionally prepared to see your kid possibly get hurt during play. Even with the best precautions, accidents do happen on the football field.  

That said, you child’s choice of sport should be theirs, so don’t let a vicarious need to see your kid play your favorite sport encourage you to push them to play if they aren’t eager, and don’t let your fears as a parent hold them back.   

The best protective gear is expensive – but worth it.

Everything your child uses to protect their body should be high quality and perfectly fitted. Factor this expense into their sports costs for the year. The right helmet, mouthguard, shoulder pads and shoes can mean the difference between a bruise or two and a broken bone or concussion. 

Your child’s overall health needs to be a priority.

Make sure your child has a physical before the season starts. And discuss any health issues with Dr. Strasburger if you have concerns about weak joints or previous concussions. He can help you make sure your child’s health is a top priority. 

Good nutrition to support still growing bones and joints should be in mind when meal planning, and don’t forget hydration. Many children get sick their first year of playing sports because they aren’t replacing fluids lost in the field under the late summer sun. 

Youth football is supposed to be fun.

While teens take their sports very seriously as the best players position themselves for scholarships and recruitment, your younger players should still be playing more for the fun and challenge of it all. 

Be prepared to watch your child and take note if their sport time starts to become a source of stress or unhappiness. There’s no shame in letting your kid switch sports or choose a different path if football stops being fun. 

Knowing these things in advance can help you make the best decision for you and your child, and allows you to pivot to another choice if needed. Dr. Strasburger is here to support your decision and keep your budding athlete safe and healthy.