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Safety in sport

safety; sport; protective; clothing; protect; sun; screen; equipment; injuries; safe; injury; pain; gear; warming; cooling; danger; protection; snow; eye ;


What are the dangers?

sunIn Australia, one of the biggest risks that sports people face is skin and eye damage from the sun. Everyone should know about 'Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek and Slide'. Have a look at the topic Sunburn.

Apart from that there are many accidents which happen in sport which could be prevented with the help of safety gear, a good coach and some commonsense

Protection from the sun

playing in the sunThe sun can damage young skin very easily wherever you live in the world, but it does even more harm in hot dry countries like Australia. If your sport is an outdoor sport you should cover as much of your body with clothes as you can, then use sunscreen on parts you can't cover. Check the directions to see how long it works for.

Wear a hat whenever it is possible. You can wear a baseball cap under most safety helmets to help shade your face and protect your nose. Even better wear a cap with a flap at the back as well.

Get into the habit of wearing sunscreen every day of the year if you live in Australia.

Even in the snow you still need to protect your skin from the sun's rays, which will reflect off the snow.

Wear sunglasses, if you can, while playing your sport as eyes need protection too. If you can't afford the sports glasses then get a band which will help to keep cheaper ones on your face when you are running. You do not need expensive sunglasses. Cheaper ones will protect your eyes just as well if they meet the Australian Standard.

If your sport involves 'sitting on the bench', eg cricket, softball, then sit in the shade while waiting for your turn.

Wearing the right gear

You don't have to have the latest designer sports clothes but you do need to think of your safety.

playing baseball


You can buy many kinds of shoe specially designed for your sport. All purpose trainers are okay for a lot of sports but if you are running on grass, kicking and hitting it would be a good idea to have the right shoe for the job - a shoe which has studs so that you don't slip and has a harder front to protect your toes.



You do need to wear a mouthguard for some ball sports where you and the ball or another person could come into contact with your face.

You can buy a mouthguard in a sports store and get a parent or carer to bend it in hot water until it fits your mouth, or your dentist will make one for you to exactly fit your mouth. This will cost more but will be a good fit and less likely to fly out at the wrong moment.


If your sport involves kicking or hitting with a stick (like football, soccer, hockey, lacrosse) you may also need to wear leg guards.

What else?

cyclingFor any sport where you are travelling on wheels or skates you will need a well fitting helmet to protect the most important part of you-------your head.

Knee and elbow guards are helpful too. How painful is it to scrape the skin off your knees and elbows? Very!

All of this gear costs money, but it will help to protect you from injury. You may be able to get second-hand gear from older members of your sport who have outgrown their stuff but it is unsafe for you to be playing sports or riding your skateboard or bike without wearing the right gear to protect your precious self.

See our topic 'Riding a bike' for more information on helmets.

The coach

If you are playing an organised sport then your coach should be trained in coaching and first aid.

If you join a club there will always be someone to help if anyone is injured and you may be able to borrow, hire or buy second-hand equipment which will keep you safe without too much cost.

Warming up and cooling down

aerobic exerciseBefore you start any exercise it is a good idea to do some stretches and some walking or jogging to 'warm up' your muscles. Muscles work much better when they are warm and are less likely to be damaged by sudden hard work.

At the end of your exercise you should slow down and ‘cool down’ by doing the exercises you warmed up with. This way your muscles gradually cool down and again you are less likely to do damage.

See our topic 'Exercise safely' for a 'warm up' and 'cool down' routine.

First aid for sport

All sports coaches should know about first aid in sport so during training or in a game situation they would be the people to deal with any injuries.

looking out for friendsBut maybe your type of sport doesn't have a coach or maybe you and your friend are practising your skills alone?

If your friend should be injured and there is not an adult around it could be up to you to help her. 

Did you know that kids can do a Basic First Aid course?  In Australia, ask your school, Red Cross or St John Ambulance, if you would like to be a First Aider.

Our topic 'First aid - basic - what is it?' will give you some tips.

Dr Kim says

Dr KimSome people think that wearing safety gear for their sport is not cool. Any top athlete would tell you that not wearing safety gear is definitely not cool. Watch how carefully all athletes warm up before their sport and how they make sure that any safety gear is fitting properly before they start.

drinking waterTop athletes know how important it is to keep safe in sport as an injury can mean that they have to give up their sport for a while or even for ever. You have lots of interesting things to do with your life, spending time getting better from a sports injury can be boring and painful. Do everything you can to keep yourself safe by wearing the right gear, following the rules, drinking enough water and playing safely.      

Check out the 'smartplay' site for tips on playing your sport safely and to reduce the risk of injury.

Have fun!


Guard yourself

Shin guards, mouth guards
Guards for elbows, heads and knees.
There are even guards for other bits
That we won't mention please!
Always wear your 'bodyguards'
Should be the sporting rule
Playing sport without them
Makes you a fool, not cool!!
And don't forget your water bottle!


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We've provided this information to help you to understand important things about staying healthy and happy. However, if you feel sick or unhappy, it is important to tell your mum or dad, a teacher or another grown-up.


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