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FOR RELEASE: May 25, 2000
CONTACT: Dick Gunn
405/271-5601

New Survey Reveals Parents Lack Concern About Preventing Sports Injuries to Kids

One of every three children who has participated in organized sports has been injured, according to a nationwide survey released recently by the National SAFE KIDS Campaign. Results from the SAFE KIDS survey, entitled "Get Into the Game: A National Survey of Parents’ Knowledge, Attitudes and Self-Reported Behaviors Concerning Sports Safety," indicate that while an estimated half of all sports-related injuries are preventable, most parents believe there is nothing they could have done to prevent their child’s injury.

"What needs to change is the acceptance among parents that getting hurt is part of playing the game," said Martha Collar, of SAFE KIDS, a program of the Oklahoma State Department of Health.

Collar noted that the popularity of organized sports activities has skyrocketed. "As a result, kids are treated each year in emergency rooms for sports injuries that are as serious as concussions, broken bones, dislocated joints, torn ligaments and lacerations. More than half of these injuries could be prevented through proper conditioning, protective equipment, adequate hydration and close supervision," she said.

Among the key findings reported from the survey was parents’ positive reaction to the role that sports play in their children’s lives:

  • More than three-quarters of parents (86 percent) see team sports as being an important part of their children’s lives. Even more parents (97 percent) surveyed describe their child’s participation in organized team sports as a positive one.

However, the findings also indicate many parents don’t view sports safety as a top priority:

  • More than half of parents (53 percent) express little concern about the possibility of their child getting hurt, despite the fact that nearly one of every three of their children (30 percent) is injured playing team sports.
  • Four out of 5 parents whose child suffered a sports injury believe, "It was part of the game and probably would have happened anyway."
  • A third of parents (34 percent) say they do not often take the same safety precautions during their child’s practice as in a game, although most sports injuries occur during practice.
  • Only one in four organized sports activities always has a Certified Athletic Trainer on-site, despite recommendations to have one present during all sporting activities. Additionally, more than a third (41 percent) of parents report that their kids’ coaches are not certified in CPR and do not keep a first-aid kit on hand during play.

In response to these findings, SAFE KIDS and Founding Sponsor Johnson & Johnson partnered with the National Athletic Trainers Association to launch a comprehensive, nationwide sports safety initiative, "Get Into the Game!" To help educate families, the Campaign has developed a brochure that focuses on safety tips and protective gear for sports with the highest number of injuries: football, baseball/softball, soccer and basketball. Hundreds of thousands of guides and sports safety checklists are being distributed through the Campaign’s more than 280 Coalitions across the country, including the Oklahoma SAFE KIDS Coalition.

Additionally, Coalitions will participate by hosting family safety fairs and other community events that involve local sports figures and Certified Athletic Trainers who can teach families about proper conditioning and methods of safe play. Parents, caregivers and kids will learn about other risks to children, including car and bike crashes, drownings, falls, fires and burns, and poisonings.

To obtain copies of "Get Into the Game!" materials, call the Oklahoma SAFE KIDS Coalition at 405/271-5695.

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Get Into the Game: A National Survey of Parents’ Knowledge, Attitudes and Self-Reported Behaviors Concerning Sports Safety was conducted by Peter D. Hart Research Associates in January 2000. In all, 754 in-depth telephone interviews were completed among a nationally representative cross-section of parents who have at least one child, age 5 to 14, who plays at least one of the following sports: basketball, soccer, football, baseball, softball or tee ball. The overall margin of error for this survey is ±3.7 percent, and is higher for specific subgroups.

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