If you have kids who play sports, here is a word of advice I have for you – never leave the house without your insurance card! All joking aside, whether you have kids playing sports or not, you really to be prepared for a trip to the Emergency Room when you least expect it (because kids don’t warn you when they are going to get hurt) – I have been un-lucky enough to have been in that situation 3 times in the past 18 months.
Those fabulous stitches in the picture on the right belong to my son. I had just left the pool the other night when I got a call on my cell phone from my son’s coach. He had been swimming and somehow misjudged the wall on his flip turn and managed to catch his forehead on the very immovable pool wall. OUCH!
I quickly turned right around and picked him up from practice and headed to the ER. Two hours and 5 stitches later, he was back in action and joking about the incident. The good news is, that will heal up pretty quickly and he can actually go back to practice this week. The bad news is, that is going to leave a scar. Now, a scar on your hand, leg or other body part is not the end of the world – but depending on how this heals, we may end up looking into having plastic surgery done (I know if it was one of the girls, we would definitely have plastic surgery done).
As the result of our ER visits, I have come up with a few tips for sports parents to make dealing with sports injuries a little less stressful.
6 Sports Injury Tips for Sports Mom & Dads:
1. ALWAYS carry identification and your insurance cards. ALWAYS. Other information you will need to know at the ER include your child’s social security number, their primary care physician’s information and any allergies they may have.
2. Make sure your athlete’s coach has your current contact information and an emergency contact number.
3. Have a backup plan for the other children in the family. Luckily I was able to drop my 10 year old with a friend who took both of my daughters home, sparing them a lengthy wait in the ER with us.
4. Know where the closest medical facility is to your athlete’s regular practice venue. If you are traveling to a competition out of the area, make finding out where is the nearest hospital part of your planning.
5. Stay calm!! The best thing you can do for your child when they are injured is to stay calm and be their advocate.
6. Be sure to ask all the questions you can think of while you have the doctor there – be clear on discharge, follow up and return to activity instructions! One thing I did learn from this incident that I did not know before is that if your child is getting stitches, you can request that a plastic surgeon put the stitches in, instead of the ER doctor assigned to you.
Being prepared for the unexpected is half the battle of parenting, however, when you have an athlete you have to expect the unexpected more often.