We watched the Giants game the other night and got a good chuckle out of the Oscar-worthy performances of Jacquian Williams and Deon Grant. They fell to the ground, writhing in pain, just as the Rams were setting up a no-huddle play. Guess the boys in blue have been watching some soccer? We’re also following the progress of Peyton Manning. Manning is a tremendous talent and is no stranger to playing with pain. In a long career with the Colts he had missed only one regular season snap. In 2001 he got hit by the Dolphins, sat out a play, and came back bloodied, but finished the game. Turns out he had a broken jaw. Manning had off-season surgery to repair a nerve in his neck. That didn’t go exactly to plan and he’s now had additional surgeries. Word is now that he’s traveled to Europe for controversial stem-cell therapies. Why is this important? Our folks are playing some football, too. And we spent all summer going to Little League, and we’re gearing up for Field Hockey, Lacrosse, Soccer, Swimming, etc., etc., etc. The point is that you don’t have to be Peyton Manning to get hurt playing sports. The Centers for Disease Control says that at the High School level over 2 million athletes will be injured this year. That’s everything from cuts and bruises to more serious issues like sprains, tears, bone breaks, and concussion. The highest rate of injury was to boys playing football but no sport or sex was free from risk. More kids were hurt during actual games but many injuries were also reported during practices and training. What can you do to reduce the risk? Make sure that your child is prepared for the season. Evaluate pre-season health. Every session should start with proper warm-up and nutrition. Equipment should be appropriate to the sport and properly fitted. Our kids like to be active, but make sure that they have adequate rest between practices, before games, and often between seasons. Many experts suggest taking breaks between seasons as opposed to going straight to basketball from football, running to soccer, etc. Listen to the coach! At the youth level a common cause of injury is improper technique. The first time your youngster wears a helmet he’s going to want to test it. Leading a tackle head-first, however, is NOT good technique. There is an art to tackling, to running, to jumping, and even to falling down. Ask any skateboarder. Most importantly, Be An Advocate! Learn what you can about the sport your superstar has chosen. Let the Coach coach, but be a participant. Talk to your child about following the rules, following directions, and be aware. Sports are our lives, and we hope yours, too! Do your part to Keep Your Kid In The Game!