April 29th, 2011

Sports Safety Week With Johnson & Johnson and Safe Kids

From Sarah Colamarino, Vice President, Corporate Communications, Johnson & Johnson

Last week, Johnson & Johnson had the privilege of launching Sports Safety Week with Safe Kids USA, our partner for the past 24 years.  As the mother of two avid teenage athletes, I have come to recognize the physical and emotional effects of sports-related injuries, and recognize that parents, coaches and kids can play a large role in prevention. 

Safe Kids will host some excellent educational opportunities over the next few months.  A special “Sports Injury Prevention” webcast will take place on Monday, May 2. This will offer important information from a professional athlete and leading sports medicine doctors on sports injury prevention.  In addition, Safe Kids will conduct 100 sports safety clinics nationwide over the next few months.  These are designed to provide hands-on learning. Visit the Safe Kids website for the location of a clinic near you.

Youth sports injury is a serious issue with over 3.5 million children under the age of 14 affected every year. As sports have shifted from being a seasonal to a year round activity the incidences of injuries have continued to climb.  We believe that the only way to reverse this trend is to educate parents and educators about preventing and identifying possible injuries.

A recent article in USA today highlights the difficult choices parents often have to make.  Jean Rickerson, mother and founder of SportsConcussions.org, found herself having to fight hard to keep her son Drew out of the playoff game after he sustained a concussion in a “helmet-to-helmet hit”.  Even after taking a four month hiatus from football it took Drew nearly a year to fully recover.  For Jean, one of the most important takeaways was that both she and the coaches lacked the proper information at the time, making Drew’s trail all the more difficult.

Many parents have experiences like Jean.  I personally believe that sports are a terrific developmental experience for many children.  But I also recognize that we need to keep them safe. By learning necessary information, we can help kids experience the joy of sports – but help them to be as safe as possible.

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