Avoid Contact Sports
By Lauren Engelhardt Sports Editor
From a young age, everyone has heard over and over again, go out and exercise. The NFL even sponsors “Fuel Up to Play 60” to encourage kids to go out and play for at least 60 minutes a day. While kids should be putting in some sort of physical activity everyday, to what extremes should they do it to?
There are some high impact sports out there that are just too simply dangerous for young ones such as football, hockey and lacrosse. There is alarming data out there that says how concussions are rising for the youth especially in sports such as football. For example, CBC published an article that includes Nigerian-American forensic pathologist and neuropathologist, Dr. Bennet Omalu, quoting that your child is more likely to die before the age of 42 in a violent means if they play contact sports and experience multiple blows to the head.
Speaking from personal experience, no kid should ever have to go through having a concussion especially younger than 16 years of age. Concussions have serious affects on a child’s life such as making it more difficult for them to receive an education at school, developing mental disorders or even thoughts of suicide. Dr. Omalu also states that children who play contact sports have increased their risk of committing suicide and developing serious psychiatric illnesses by two to four times.
It is hard to send a child out onto the football field with a helmet as their best protection. Aside from concussions, there are numerous other opportunities for injury that any child could encounter such as torn ACLs, twisted and sprained elbows and ankles, bruises and broken bones.
According to some sports injury statistics collected by John Hopkins Medicine, more than 3.5 million children up to 14 years of age get hurt playing sports or taking part in recreational activities annually. With all of this research and supporting evidence out there proving how contact sports are dangerous to kids, it begs the question, “How can kids still get in the physical activity they need without the risk for long-term injury?”
For every problem, there is usually a solution. There are a plethora of ways to exercise other than just playing football, hockey or even lacrosse. There other safer sports such as swimming, basketball, baseball, track and field and tennis. It is entirely possible to still take on the tradition of passing the ball around with your parental unit without compromising the brain. There is also flag football which has the fun of the sport without most of the dangers associated with tackle football. At a certain age, teenagers can start going to work out at gyms so long as they are supervised by a parent or guardian.
Another way to prevent long term injuries is just by eating and drinking healthy. Everyone should be eating all the nutrients and portion size recommended by doctors and drinking at least eight glasses of water a day. It is possible for a child to still live a healthy life without risking their future.