Youth Sports MATTER! – In this blog you find out why, and you might discover some good advice for parents and coaches alike…
In the US, around thirty million kids participate in organized youth sports. Some of those kids are yours. And more than 3.5 million kids bill be injured playing youth sports.
Chances are, those kids may be yours too. But, since so many kids do not report their injury, play through the pain, or do not get treated in an ER, this number is a slow estimate.
Let’s hope your Little Leaguer just has a minor arm strain. Or your soccer player’s ankle is merely strained, not broken. Most injuries, fortunately, are easy-to-fix sprains and strains. Yet some sports are just more dangerous than others. And some injuries in youth sports are more serious than others.
Contact sports result in more injuries
Contact sports such as football can be expected to result in a higher number of injuries than a non contact sport such as swimming. Yet even a pickup game of basketball in the driveway has its risks. Research shows that all sports have the potential to cause injury, whether from the trauma of contact with other players or from overuse or misuse of a body part.
But let’s not let the statistics discourage us from allowing our kids to play youth sports. On the contrary, kids who play youth sports are less likely to drop out of school, perhaps to get involved in gangs, and are more likely to continue on the higher education.
However, it is important to prepare kids for a sport before they hit the turf, with good conditioning, drills, and skills. Kids will always have much more fun if they are playing the sport free from injury and playing with enough skill to contribute to the team. Maybe now is the time to consider the other benefits of sports such as learning teamwork, accepting defeat, building character, making friends, working hard.
Another important aspect in youth sports: adequate supervision. Young athletes should have proper supervision. Kids also need rest and proper diet. Kids should be kids for as long as they can be and participate in many sports. Specializing too soon often leads to overuse, injury, burnout, dropout, and failure. Sports should be fun, safe, healthy, and, we all hope, enjoyed for a lifetime.