Keeping Sports in Perspective for Children
MADISON – So your child has exceptional skills when it comes to hitting a baseball or throwing a football.
In today's world of 24-hour sports channels, these kids may live in a fantasy world where they think following in the footsteps of Derek Jeter or Tom Brady is inevitable.
An assistant professor of orthopedics and pediatrics at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health says it is the responsibility of adults and coaches to make sure kids have realistic expectations about their sports "careers."
Dr. Alison Brooks says there's nothing wrong with a child being an excellent athlete, but parents and coaches need to clarify that their talents are not an automatic ticket to the major leagues or the NFL. She believes adults should stress other benefits from playing sports.
"There's living a healthy lifestyle; getting good exercise; learning how to be a leader and a teammate; and how to engage with other people," she says. "Sometimes, we as a society have lost focus on why kids should play sports."
Brooks adds that sports also get kids into the habit of daily physical activity that could carry on into adulthood.
"Those of us in the medical world concerned about the childhood obesity epidemic believe there should be more time spent talking about the importance of being active and healthy as opposed to how well you can throw a curve ball," she says.
Date Published: 06/17/2009