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Physical education is a ton of fun, but the activities therein can be very dangerous if not properly monitored. This lesson gives you examples of safety guidelines for physical education.

Physical Education & Injuries

No one wants to fall off a rope onto a hard floor. Nobody wants to get smashed in the face with a ball. And, of course, no one would want to break a bone while playing a sport. But any of these can happen to kids participating in any number of activities in a physical education class.

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And so, safety guidelines for physical education are an important part for any physical education teacher to consider. This lesson will give you a good introduction into general safety in the physical education environment.

Physical Education Safety

Why don’t we start off with generic physical education safety guidelines designed to keep your students safe? The first thing you need to note is whether or not the activity you are about to engage your students in is appropriate for their age. For example, teaching first graders how to play rugby is not the best idea. Also, ask yourself, is the activity appropriate for a student’s abilities? For instance, power-lifting for a middle school student is extreme, but even something like swimming may not be appropriate for a high school student if they do not know how to swim. So, such needs must addressed on a general and student-specific scale.Next, you have to be honest with yourself about your own abilities and knowledge.

Do you have the ability to teach the topic while teaching and supervising it safely? Perhaps you’re a pro at teaching students how to play baseball but proper weightlifting techniques are not your forte. In the latter case, taking a class on the things you’re not as proficient in will help you to better safely teach your students what they need to know.Other general safety concerns to consider include, but are not limited to:

  • Monitoring the environment, such as heat, when playing outdoor sports
  • Having a fully stocked first aid kit in the gym
  • Knowing how to recognize the signs of a concussion, such as dizziness and headache
  • Checking your gym’s equipment for any problems
  • Ensuring students are wearing appropriate clothing for the activity at hand

In-Depth Example

Okay, you now have a good grasp of the vast amount of safety-related issues that must be taken into account for a physical education class from a general standpoint. Let’s take one specific case to really show you how in-depth it goes. Let’s take the example of climbing an ascending line, which is climbing up a rope that’s anchored to the ceiling.First, consider the equipment. Is the equipment manufactured for this type of climbing activity? Is there a medical kit nearby? Is the equipment safe to use, or is it worn and needs to be replaced? Do you have helmets and climbing harnesses? What types of mats are available in terms of their thickness?Don’t forget to inspect the facilities.

Has the climbing equipment been installed by certified personnel? Has it recently been inspected? Is the facility safe to use in terms of heating, cooling, ventilation, floors, and so on?Next, consider the students’ clothing and footwear. They shouldn’t be wearing tops with drawstrings. Nothing should be tied around their neck. All jewelry should be removed or taped so as not to dangle. If a student has long hair, it needs to be covered or tied back.Furthermore, make sure students and parents are aware of the dangers of climbing such a rope and that parents have signed off on their children participating in such an activity.

Review any students with special needs and how they will fit into the activity. When performing the climbing activity, make sure it’s supervised by a certified personnel, preferably one who’s also certified in first aid techniques.

Lesson Summary

When considering safety guidelines for a physical education class, make sure the activity is appropriate for a student’s age and appropriate for a student’s abilities. You also need to make sure you are well versed in how to safely teach and supervise the activity.

These are just general considerations. Each specific activity will have its own unique safety guidelines that involve equipment, facilities, students, and yourself. In our example of climbing up a rope, the safety guidelines included ensuring the rope was designed for such an activity, that helmets were available, that students didn’t wear jewelry, and that you or another instructor was professionally certified in the activity.


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