CAN YOU IMAGINE A CHILDHOOD WITHOUT WEEKEND FOOTY, BASKETBALL OR SOCCER? IS THE NEWLY RELEASED DATA ENOUGH TO PULL OUR KIDS OUT?
Should kids be banned from playing contact sport?
There’s a call to not allow children under 18 to play any contact sports because of the results of a study showing that NRL players have some sort of brain injury.
That’s a toughy because as a dad of three you want to do everything in your power to protect your kids.
On the other hand you don’t want to cottonwool them so much that they don’t get to experience all that life has to offer. I remember playing rugby league at school and I would always get hurt, and could never figure out why there were some kids the same size as me that would walk away from the game without injuries.
Later in life, I figured out that the kids who avoided injuries were also ironically the ones that trained more.
These kids had the wisdom to prepare their bodies for the physicality required to play rugby league.
This is the reason why I worry about us mollycoddling our kids so much that they don’t get the opportunity to prepare their bodies for a sport they may like to take up when they’re 18. I think there is a fine line between being over protective and being a responsible parent. Honestly, the findings of that study which shows significant amounts of brain damage that come from contact sport are certainly concerning.
Are the findings enough to stop my kids from pursuing a sporting career in rugby league … probably not.
You do you.
A recent study has revealed that 99 per cent of footballers have some degree of brain damage and renewed calls for bans on contact sports. One of the last of the gladiatorial activities in society, “footy” has enjoyed a resurgence in recent years with women picking up the ball and running hard. It’s great to see.
It’s time we stopped wrapping everyone up in cotton wool and making decisions for others. If I want to headbutt a star picket, that’s my choice, foolish maybe, but my choice. If I want to run head first into a pack to try and kick a goal or score a try, again, my choice. I don’t need a well-intentioned lab coat inching closer to their PHD telling me how to suck eggs. I don’t doubt there are inherent dangers associated with contact sport, but I would argue all sports and indeed outdoor activities that don’t require wool and being wrapped in it, have their dangers. I’d like to see the stats linking brain damage to badminton too, as a fast moving shuttlecock can also be devastating. My point is studies can be easily manipulated to suit the purposes of the people writing said study or report.
The many benefits of playing sport, team, contact or otherwise need to be included in the conversation when this is tabled. I reckon the benefits outweigh the negatives. We are in the midst of an obesity epidemic, struggling to get kids off their screens and dealing with an increasing youth mental health crisis and now we are looking to ban one of the activities that combat all of these things?
In the end, make the decision that works best for you and your family, but please don’t take away my right to make that choice.
There’s an alarming study recently released around contact sports and to be honest, it’s a little frightening.
Dr Bennet Omalu has been the pioneer researcher in brain damage found in NFL players in America. The technical term for this is called chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). It’s a degenerative brain disease that pops up as a result of repeated trauma to the head. In fact, they’ve told us a big change is coming and it could wipe out contact sports altogether. We all know that it’s a risk playing contact sport, but there are calls now for sports like AFL, rugby league and union to be “noncontact”, until they’re at least 18 years old. We spoke about this on air and I read the article, then I read it again and was really confused about how I felt. I’m a massive advocate for junior sport and anything to keep the kids away from the screens, the better. Growing up heavily involved in sport, I know how much it gave me. From discipline, to goal setting and keeping active, there are so many positives that we can all take from learning a sport as a kid. The argument here though, is kids in contact sport and while they’re saying that contact sport could vanish in the next two generations, we can’t continue to wrap our kids up in cotton wool. Instead it’s more about educating parents and kids on the game and how to perform those skills required in a game without getting too injured. There’s always going to be injuries in any kind of sport, (that’s the risk you take) it just needs to be measured in a controlled environment which may even mean adjusting some of the rules of the game, but certainly not taking away the game entirely.
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