Now that I am a mother to a baby boy with a partner who is highly athletic and competitive, I have a feeling that many youth sports are in our future. While I don’t know what our little man will take a fancy to, or for what he’ll have an aptitude, I do know that I will want his environment to be as safe as possible. After talking to our experts, now I have a few more tips to refer to when we reach that point.
Improving safety for younger athletes
As our population grows, so too does the number of children participating in organized sports. Safe Kids USA, a global organization dedicated to preventing injuries in children, estimates that there are 38 million kids who play sports each year. Of those, almost 10%, or 3.5 million, sustain some type of injury on the field, injuries that can often be prevented.
Children’s bodies are not as strong as adult athletes. Mark points out that kids’ growth plates are not fully grown until the age of 16 or 17. This is important for parents of athletes to know because trauma to a joint can cause the growth plates to crack and not grow correctly, leading to permanent damage. In particular, parents should be aware of the impact from sports like football and cheerleading, which lead to higher numbers of injuries.