January 8, 2013 at 4:21 pm
by Paula Chin
I’ve been reading so much about kids getting concussions playing team sports—and it’s pretty scary stuff. My 12 year old daughter is thinking about starting soccer or basketball. But the facts are that girls in those sport are more susceptible to concussions than boys. And new research shows that the brains of girls and younger kids are way more vulnerable—they show more symptoms, greater declines in visual memory, and the cognitive impairments are more likely to persist over time—way more than the 5-7 day period shown in college athletes.
I think sports can teach kids a lot of great things, but given how competitive everything is getting, I’m not sure I want my daughter in the game. In fact, I’m starting to agree with experts who say school sports need to change big time—like barring tackle football, taking heading out of soccer, and banning body checking in ice hockey at least until age 14. I’m also coming around to suggestions to make chin straps mandatory on baseball batting helmets and eliminating all headfirst slides, no matter what age. And maybe even having a national accreditation program and safety monitors to supervise youth league coaches, most of whom are amateurs. After all, safety should come first.
Am I overreacting? What do you think?
Paula Chin is senior editor at Family Circle magazine.