Research Paper

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Evie Dunagan Mrs. Miklos Honors English 12 29 September 2014 Youth Sports Come at a Steep Cost Organized youth sports are highly popular for youth and their families, with approximately 45 million children and adolescent participants in the US. Seventy five percent of American families with school-aged children have at least one child participating in organized sports (Paddock). On the surface, it appears that US children are healthy and happy as they engage in this traditional pastime, and families report higher levels of satisfaction if their children participate. However, research shows that youth sports have lasting negative effects on young athletes. There is a major risk of injury for athletes of all ages when participating in sports. During periods of growth and development, young athletes are vulnerable to a wide variety of injuries. With the amount of youth participating in sports rising, 2.6 million emergency room visits are made each year between the ages of 5-13 due to sports related injuries (Adirim). Due to the rapid expansion of bones while growing, tension grows across the joints and growth plates. The increase of intense forces placed on the bones and muscles can put immature structures at risk of injury. Children’s bones are weaker than their ligaments, therefore they are at an increased risk for fractures in their bones and growth plates (Cambria). During the teenage years, some athletes may experience a decrease in flexibility, coordination and balance. This not only increases the risk of injury, but also takes a toll on their sports performance, placing more stress, anxiety, and social pressure on a young athlete (Adirim). Since children are generally more resilient and they are known to heal faster than adults, the immature skeleton should be taken into consideration when allowing a child to partake in high level play

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