(WKBN) – Buhl Regional Health Foundation is a private health foundation focused on the health and well-being of youth in Mercer County. One of the programs that focus on youth is Capable Kids.

Alyson Stover, MOT, JD, OTR/L, BCP is the clinical director of Capable Kids and president of the American Occupational Therapy Association.

“Many lessons we’ve learned since the acute phase of the pandemic is how important movement is,” said Stover.

Stover says sports can be a big component in a child’s life that can teach them about more than just playing a game.

“Kids should play sports for many reasons. Not just movement, but social interaction,” said Stover. “They learn how to play by the rules. They learn how to play with others. They learn how to be disappointed and excel through sporting activities.”

Capable Kids physical therapy supervisor Jenna McNeely says keeping kids safe in sports should be a big component of participation as well.

“A lot of children don’t have the appropriate gear that they need to keep themselves safe,” said McNeely. “A lot of injuries can occur when children don’t have the proper equipment or are not trained to use the equipment properly.”

McNeely says many coaches and adults aren’t properly trained either. She says things adults can do to help kids in sports are making sure the child has a full physical before joining a sporting event and making sure the field is safe to play on.

Other things helpful to children are creating safe routines and spaces by checking in with them regularly before and after practice. If your child does get injured during a sport, make sure they get the rest they need to recover. You can also track how your child is feeling to see if the injury is getting better, or worse.

Buhl Regional Health Foundation is located at 1955 Shenango Valley Freeway in Hermitage. For more information on the clinic and other programs offered, call (724) 301-3645 or visit Buhl Regional Health Foundation online.

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