In conversation with parents, coaches and kids; the primary objects was for the kids to have FUN. Healthy kids and sports? This is something that is often lost when you get people who are too competitive; coaches, kids or their parents. Fun is why we would go outdoors and enjoy the day with our friends. We picked teams and played our hearts out. We would win or lose, but would walk away arm in arm as friends.
Now we see our kids either have to be a star or don’t want to play. New technology has created ways in which the mind can be challenged without moving anything more than our fingers. The lack of PE, the safety concerns of parks and schools as to preventing injuries has also prevented outlets for physical development. Yet, sports survive and there is a place for them in a lot of our communities to enjoy. But which ones, how safe, what is best for my child?
HEALTHY KIDS AND SPORTS
The CHER Foundation sponsored a book called HEALTHY KIDZ ‘N SPORTS by Dr. Gerald Coy and Coach Mike Davis. Their collaboration brought to light many concerns that parents have about playing sports and keeping their children safe. Should you like to acquire this book contact the CHER Foundation through its website at www.cherfoundation.org. In the meantime, we will discuss briefly some of the challenges that are part of making sure your kids stay healthy while pursuing the thrill of playing sports.
Always remember that a child is a child. They are easily injure in the process of their development than an adult who has fully grown. This sensitivity needs to be addressed and caution needs to be advised in doing any sport where the INTENT of the sport is to create trauma. We are not talking about the normal falls, and bumps in the course of the activity, that happens in all sports and even daily life. What is of concern are those parts of a sport that are meant to traumatize one, if not both of the players.
We do not “box” in school anymore, even though it is a “time honored” sport of “men”! This macho attitude has defended the sport for years and has even expanded in to extreme sports that thrill the crowd with the brutality of the action. One often can see the thrill the audience must have centuries ago with the gladiators killing each other. At least we do not fight to the death, but that does not mean we are not cheering on harm to the players for our entertainment.
Boxing is primarily meant to “knock out” your opponent, and at least to knock the opponent down. The requires extreme force generally directed at the head of the other person. Again, this is not something that is done in our schools because of the potential damage and injuries that can occur. Even though we do not promote boxing in schools, there are boxing clubs that have small kids fighting each other. As to how wise this is, that is up to the individual do decide.
What sports we do see that might be in question are the favorite in America, American Football (Not to be confused with Soccer which is also referred to as football). This sport gets the audience on the edge of their seats in thrilling last minute action. What trauma adults do to their bodies and how they take care of themselves from these traumas is up to them, but for our children, WE are responsible and need to think carefully about how this might affect them.
Sports Injuries and concussions
Over the last year a lot of information has come up about CONCUSSIONS. Thought concussions are a very serious condition do to the trauma of such as sport as football, it is only one of the factors when talking about the safety of our kids. Kids can play sports and break a leg, arm, get bruised, scrapes none of which is life-threatening. The concern from concussions is that they can be, but there is another aspect that can be harmful and that is the trauma to the spine. This is not something the medical profession is that concerned about unless you fracture it. They do not look at altered balance any more than a sprained ankle though spinal specialists, in particular, chiropractors often disagree.
Watch what happens to the spine of someone hit hard by a block or tackle. Watch as the neck is thrown from side to side or back and forth. A lot of these traumas are as severe as any “whiplash” injuries you might find in an automobile accident. These traumatic injuries to a 250-300 fully developed and trained professional athlete can still cause damage. But what can it do to the early development of our youth? As they begin playing in High School or even earlier? It is a question, not an answer, but one that needs to be in the minds of parents whose kids are thinking of playing this sport.
The other sport mentioned is Soccer. Now how can that be damaging? Aren’t the just kicking the ball back and forth across a big field? In most the time that is the case, and other than leg and knee injuries there are usually no great traumatic incidents. Occasionally two players will collide dramatically, but most of the time this is not the general action of the players. But what about the “headers”, the hitting of the ball with the players head. Even in soccer they are talking about concussions, and that is something the younger players need to be very aware of. The challenge again is that the medical evaluation generally spends no time on injuries that can be accumulated.
Soccer game with young girls.
Two young girls went in to a spinal specialist, a well known and respected chiropractor, who had also been involved in the professional research on professional American football players and their residual spinal damage. What was found from the 15 and 17 year old sisters who had played soccer for years., That could be the reason they were both developing neck pain, headaches, shoulder pain and their mother was wanting them evaluated.
Upon evaluation of their necks (cervical spines), it was found that the normal position of their spine was severely changed. Not noticeable for the outside, but very obvious from the X-rays taken of their spines. Both of these young ladies should not be doing headers in their selected sport. Whether or not this was the cause of their conditions. It can only be surmised in that there was no history of any incidents that would relate to such a dramatic altered position.
These are examples of how kids can be injured from the sports they are playing. What is the solution? It would be better for our youth American Football was not played in our schools. Even after 18, there could be some concerns. But as an adult, you have had time to strengthen your body and prepare it for the trauma. You can also decide to have continuous treatment as long as you are going to have the frequent traumas.
Prevention is the key
Prevention is always the best for all conditions and there are many things you can do to help. Obviously to not do a traumatic sport in your youth is one of the best. Exercising and strengthening the body to be prepared to handle the traumas of a sport are next. The other and most important is the nutritional support that the athlete or active child has available.
We all know what voracious appetites young athletes have. With a growing body and burning a mass of calories it is essential that they get all that can help them in their diets. What is also important is that there be supplementation for their needs.
You may contact us and discuss how you can offer your kids the best support for their sporting adventure. To ensure their bodies are getting prepared to help them stay as health as possible.
As it was said in the beginning…. sports are for the FUN of it!
And comments? Please feel free to leave your questions.