The best way to handle injuries is to be prepared for as many emergencies as possible and to do your homework.
Here are several tips:
* Stay in shape -- A fit player can decrease his or her chances of getting injured. Even being in tip-top shape won't necessarily stop every injury. But being fit is one less reason to pull a muscle or face a long come back from an injury.
* Get a pre-season check-up -- Pro teams have pre-season medical check-ups and many older age youth teams do, too. Each coach also should keep a list of players who have allergies and pre-existing medical conditions.
* Do not to forget to stretch -- If a player wants to avoid pulling muscles in practice and games, a really good stretch of the key leg muscles is a must. Stretching doesn't take more than 10 or 15 minutes. Studies have shown that the more flexible players are, the less prone they are to injuries.
* Use the correct equipment -- Every player must wear shin guards, which protect a sensitive part of the body. A players' soccer shoes also should fit correctly. Shoes that are poor fitting can cause blisters and injuries.
* Have phone access -- Make sure you have the number of the nearest hospital on your phone (home games) available or written down (road matches). Assume the home team doesn't have that type of information, although it should. Also, coaches and parents must know the address or and directions to the field because many fields can be out of the way.
* Have a First-Aid kit ready -- Every team should have one to handle minor bumps, scrapes and bruises. For the more serious injuries, you can use a First-Aid kit, but some players should be taken immediately to a doctor or the hospital. A kit should have sterile pads, gauze pads, bandages, scissors, towelettes, antiseptic and disposable gloves. If a team has a parent or coach who is a medical doctor, that is an added bonus.
* Know CPR -- Everyone should know this important life-saving procedure. Every coach should have to take a CPR course. Hopefully, he or she probably will never have to use it, but the one time he does will be a life-saver.
* Check out the weather conditions -- While many professional sides play in all sorts of weather, youth players should not be subjected to severe weather. On an extremely hot day, teams should have plenty of ice cold water.
* And don't forget the ice -- Not for the water, but to put on injuries.
* Examine the condition of the field -- Players can sustain injuries from a field that has rocks, holes and divots. Before a home game, coaches, players and team officials should patrol the pitch to make sure there are no problem areas. Doing it at away games is a pretty good idea, too.