Blown ACL’s? Concussions? Obnoxious parenting? So often, news reports about kids’ sports focus on the BAD news. It’s almost enough to hand your kid an XBOX controller and tell them to stay safe.
But as a longtime reporter and parent raising 3 active kids of my own. I am a big proponent of youth sports. They learn healthy habits, they learn discipline and teamwork. My children have learned to win gracefully and lose even more gracefully… or at least we’re working on that. Success in sports can lead to success in life, I really believe it. But I bristle at how many children are pushing themselves or being pushed by adults to be mini-pros at a very young age. Their training regimens, if year-round or too-intense for their growing bodies are sidelining them long before college.
I had seen this through interviews and research for my ParentMap column From the Sidelines, my own experiences and also friends whose families have wrestled with these issues. A couple of years, my tipping point came when two of my own children suffered injuries in their respective sports a month apart from each other. Luckily in our case, neither case was serious. Their adolescent growth combined with aggressive training forced them to sit out from their respective sports, but they healed with rest and physical therapy. As a family, we learned to pay closer attention, so that minor injuries don’t become big ones.
Speaking and writing on this topic in my role as TV Editor at ParentMap Magazine is fulfilling my goal to become a grassroots advocate for what Dr. James Andrews, a leader in the sports medicine field calls a “crisis” in youth injuries.
“It’s time to put a stop to this pervasive problem that is, quite literally, crippling our children before they even have a chance to live their dreams – and to focus on behaviors and practices that can help a child maximize his or her athletic potential.”
– Dr. James R. Andrews, “Any Given Monday”
In addition to this website, I recommend Andrews’ book, “Any Given Monday” as a must read. A highly regarded surgeon for 3 decades, he has become synonymous with superstar athletes; Drew Brees, Roger Clemens, Kerri Strug and Scottie Pippen just to name a few. But, in talking to him it is apparent that what disturbs and motivates him to action is his concern for the kids ending up on his operating table.
We will hear from sports medicine experts in fields from orthopedic surgeons to ophthalmologists, from pediatricians to physical therapists, and from parents, grandparents and top-notch coaches. I always welcome your stories, ideas and feedback: email@example.com.
– Hilary A. Benson