**This conversation is brought to you in partnership with NATA. All opinions are my own. #MyStoryWithNATA AD**
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She plays basketball on roller blades. She plays volleyball in the pool. She runs the most laps in the school fun run. She is athletic but sometimes clumsy about it. This year, entering 7th grade, my oldest, Katie, is bound and determined to be on the Junior High School Volleyball team. She is a tiny thing, barely 5 foot tall and 62 pounds, but she is passionate and excited. Being a member of sports teams myself growing up, I am all for it. That being said, there is the excitement of a parent watching their child compete versus the fear of a parent watching their child compete. Will she be safe? Is it good for her? What risks do I need to be aware of so that she reaps the benefits of the experience? Should I Let My Daughter Play Organized Sports?
Luckily, my partnership with NATA (National Athletics Trainers Association) can help answer my questions and help me make informed decisions.
Why Am I Even be Concerned?
The secondary school athletic population leads the nation in athletic-related deaths.*
It may seem like a silly question. Of course Katie could benefit from sports. The lessons of teamwork, cooperation and being a part of a group working towards the same goals are important. The physical activity, the responsibility to the team and the thrill of learning a new skill are all reasons that organized sports are so productive for people. Katie has been labeled ‘everybody’s friend’ in school so this will only enhance her ability to connect with classmates and to enrich those relationships. Millions of kids play sports every day without incident.
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Being a mom, though, the biggest question I have for any of my kids on any given day is: ‘Will they be safe?’ Just as I worry when they go to school, when they ride their bikes or when I am driving with them in the car, I worry that they can get hurt playing any sport. Something as simple as a jammed finger can lead to a lifelong battle with arthritis. The little things matter as much as the big things!
What is NATA?
I am PROUD to be learning and writing about NATA, the National Athletics Trainers Association. Do yourselves a favor and SIGN UP for their newsletter now. Whether your child plays football, basketball, soccer or just plays around in the yard, you will need this resource to help you make informed decisions.
NATA, through their AtYourOwnRisk.org website, is determined to help parents understand the importance of being educated about safety when it comes to children and sports. While a majority of parents think that participation in sports is important and that the benefits of participation out-weigh the risks, most parents do not do enough to ensure their youth athlete’s safety.
90 PERCENT of student athletes report some sort of sports-related injury in their athletic careers.**
54 PERCENT of student athletes report they have played while injured.**
As part of that mission, NATA has created the AtYourOwnRisk.org website which has a ton of resources that we parents can use to help make sure our kids are safe playing sports! You can even Share Your Story like Jordy Nelson who believes playing multiple sports can help kids more than focusing on one!
Katie is going to love being on the team playing volleyball. But she is also going to experience some of the downfalls. The loses, the girls that are not the nicest to her and the balance of grades and sports. I don’t want her to worry about playing safe, however, so I am scouring the AtYourOwnRisk.org website for any information I can gather to help her on this journey.
It is a myth that boys get hurt more in sports than girls do. It is a myth that boys are more competitive than girls. It is a myth that girls won’t get hurt as badly as boys because of the sports they choose or are allowed to play.
It is also a myth that we parents have to go it alone! The tools are out there to help us ask the right questions of coaches and athletic trainers. All we have to do it look to NATA’s At Your Own Risk website to get all we need!
Are you questioning putting your daughter on a sports team? What are your concerns?
**SafeKids Worldwide: Changing the Culture of Youth Sports Report – 2014 http://www.safekids.