kids playing multiple sportsWatching your child suffer is every parent’s worst nightmare; after all, it is your duty to protect them from the world. We all know that exercise is healthy (especially since our doctors are always telling us that we don’t get enough), but many parents are struck with paralyzing fear over the damage that accidents caused by sports can inflict. Even though over 36 million kids in the U.S. play organized sports each year, some parents are still concerned about the risk associated with their children’s involvement. Let’s tackle a few of these health concerns so both parent and child can continue to be happy and healthy.

Head Injuries

There are plenty of contact sports that are associated with head injuries, most notably concussions. Despite the fact that 51% of parents are tolerant of their child playing sports, a large number would forbid the stereotypically dangerous types: rugby (only 6% would let their kids play), hockey (12%), field hockey (16%), lacrosse (17%), football (18%), and wrestling (18%) are considered by parents to pose too high of a risk.

Cardiac Arrest

Although more than 350,000 cardiac arrests occur outside of the hospital each year, very few of them are in healthy people under the age of 35. It’s easy to focus only on the terrifying and rare stories that emerge — young athletes drop dead after overexerting themselves physically — despite the fact that these events are almost always associated with underlying heart defects or abnormalities; since many of the disorders and conditions are genetic or hereditary, screening options are often available to figure out if there is a problem present. If your child has a history of unexplained fainting, or your family has a history of sudden cardiac arrest, preventative measures can be taken.

Bone Breaks And Tears

Fractures, sprains, and various other structural injuries are absolutely a risk when it comes to sports, explaining why 85% of parents cite safety as their main concern for their child’s participation. However, these hazards come with any type of physical activity; although some are certainly higher risk than others, any kind of movement can cause damage if done incorrectly. For example, the 2,000-year-old sport of gymnastics is associated with wrist fractures and ankle sprains — both of which you can incur trying to a handstand or falling down the stairs.

At the end of the day, life itself is dangerous, but that doesn’t mean we’re going to stop living it. As a parent, you should only be concerned with keeping up on your child’s health through yearly physicals; unless they have specific underlying conditions, such as scoliosis (which affects 2% to 3% of the population and can cause problems with flexibility) or hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (an inherited condition that can disrupt the heart’s electrical system), you shouldn’t really have too much to worry about. Through proper education and preparation, your child will be as happy and healthy on the field as they are in their own home.

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