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Many Parents Say Sports Can Be Too Dangerous for Kids

TUESDAY, June 26, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- More than half of American parents say they've considered keeping their children out of sports over concerns about injuries, a new survey finds.

Still, the poll of more than 1,000 parents found that nearly 60 percent said their kids had participated in sports, and 9 in 10 believed sports was important to their child's overall wellness, according to the National Athletic Trainers' Association (NATA).

"Parents clearly appreciate the benefits of their children participating in sports and understandably want to ensure they are as safe as possible, however, we firmly believe the benefits of sports far outweigh the risks, and there are actions parents can take to reduce the risk of injuries related to sports participation," NATA President Tory Lindley said.

"For example, parents should ask about the coach's training, emergency action plans and, most importantly, if there is a medical professional on site to provide care should an injury or illness occur," Lindley said in an association news release.

Injuries aside, 60 percent of parents said the most important benefits of sports were improved confidence, leadership and teamwork.

Of the 52 percent who said they had or would keep their child out of sports due to the risks, the top concerns included broken bones, sprains and strains, concussions, dehydration and heat illness, overuse or stress-related injuries, and dental injuries.

There may be some basis to those worries. Each year in the United States, recreational and sports-related injuries account for about 3.2 million visits to emergency rooms by children aged 5 to 14, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Also, sports-related injuries are the leading cause of emergency room visits for kids 12 to 17.

Many parents surveyed said they've taken or would take steps to protect their children, learning the signs and symptoms of common sports injuries and asking about the use of proper safety equipment.

However, less than half said they've shared or would share their child's medical history with the school or club, and only one-third have discussed the game's rules with their children so kids can play the game safely.

About half said their child's interest is the main factor in deciding about involvement in sports, while one-third said the child's safety was most important.

"The survey results suggest most parents want to support their child's interests, but in a safe way," Lindley said. "The good news is there are many resources available to them, no matter the sport or age of their child."

More information

The American Academy of Pediatrics offers sports safety tips.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: National Athletic Trainers' Association, news release, June 26, 2018

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