If your child is playing baseball this spring, then you'll want to take special precautions to protect his or her elbow and shoulder. Keep similar considerations in mind if your child instead opts for dreams of basketball stardom, as injuries are especially commonplace on the court. According to figures from the National Athletic Trainers' Association, 22 percent of male players sustain at least once injury per year, the bulk of which are to the hip, knee and feet. To keep your child in the game for longer, be sure to follow these handy tips and safety guidelines:

"Over 22% of male players sustain at least one injury per year."

Wear the right shoes
Basketball is a sport where foot movement is key, and as a result, players often must cope with ankle sprains and all season long. To prevent these injuries, Kid's Health suggested that players wear high-top shoes, which provide the ankle with much needed support. If your little point guard still wants to rock low tops, make sure the shoe at least features a sturdy non-skid sole, which can better regulate movement. Finally, properly tied shoes go a long way in preventing most injuries.

Consider added gear
Shoes are only part of the equation when it comes to playing basketball safely. The Doernbecher Children's Hospital said that parents and children should consider a few other forms of protection as well. Depending on the age of your son, a cup or athletic supporter is a good option. Even if your child doesn't wear glasses, eyewear can help protect against accidental elbows or balls to the face. Same goes for a mouth guard, especially if your child is still growing in his or her permanent teeth or has been fitted with braces or a retainer. 

Watch where you are
Injuries to the feet and ankle may be most common, but there are other potential risks out on the court. In a mandate to its players, the Colville Public Schools Superintendent suggested that players be more cognizant of what's going on around them during play. That means being aware of the movements of other players and taking steps to avoid running into one another. As an extension of that, players should know where the ball is at all times. Finally, it's just as important to know what's going on in the crowds, lest it somehow affect the action on the court.

Stretch and hydrate
Preparation for any game is vital. Beyond team meetings and strategy sessions, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons said that all players should be sure to properly stretch and stay continuously hydrated. For basketball, you want to ensure your muscles are nice and warm, which prevents injury, and exercises like walking in place and jumping jacks are great starters. When it comes to drinking water, it's important that players consume at least 24 ounces in the hours before the big game. Be sure your child consumes at least another eight ounces every 20 minutes during regular play.

Following any on-the-court injuries, you should take your child to a local CareWell Urgent Care Center. Open all season long, CareWell's team of physicians have the tools and knowledge necessary to treat any sprains, fractures or dislocations.