Debate! Should kids under 14 play contact sports?


Share
Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2012, 11:39 am
Comment on this story | Print this story | Email this story
By Elizabeth Winchester
What is football without tackling, soccer without heading the ball and lacrosse and hockey without full body checking? Much safer for kids under 14, says Dr. Robert Cantu.
Cantu is a concussion expert and brain surgeon at Emerson Hospital in Massachusetts. A concussion is a serious brain injury caused by a blow to the head or body. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that as many as 3.8 million concussions happen each year in sports and recreational activities.
In his new book, "Concussions and Our Kids," Cantu proposes that tackle football, heading in soccer and full body checking in ice hockey not start until kids are 14. Kids' brains, Cantu explains, are more at risk for injury than adult brains. Children's brains do not have as much of a protein called myelin, which helps protect the brain. Kids have larger heads and weaker necks and torsos, "so if they fall they are much more likely to have their heads snap backward and hit the ground," Cantu adds. "Youngsters tend to have the worst equipment, least experienced coaches and no medical personal at the scene." Cantu suggests the age 14 for starting full contact in sports because "you have to start somewhere, but starting later is fine too."
Some experts argue that choosing age 14 as the starting point is random because there isn't research to support it and enforcing the restrictions isn't practical. Opponents also say that risks of injuries are just part of the games, and if kids are wearing protective equipment and taught to play the sports correctly, they will reduce their chances of getting hurt. They add that head injuries happen in basketball and other sports too. If Cantu were to succeed with his proposed restrictions, what would come next — placing restrictions in these sports too?

















 



Local events heading








  Today is Thursday, July 31, the 212th day of 2014. There are 153 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: A corps of surgeons now occupies the new hospital quarters at the Garrison Hospital on the Rock Island Arsenal. A fence has been installed to enclose the prison hospital.
1889 -- 125 years ago: B. Winter has let a contract to Christ Schreiner for a two story brick building with a double store front on the south side of 3rd Avenue just west of 17th Street. The estimated cost was $4,500.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Germany sent simultaneous ultimatums to Russia and France, demanding that Russia suspend mobilization within 12 hours and demanding that France inform Germany within 18 hours. In the case of war between Germany and Russia, France would remain neutral.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Civil service offices at the post office and the Rock Island Arsenal were swamped as more than 700 youths sought 15 machinist apprenticeships at the Arsenal.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Last night, American Legion Post 246 in Moline figuratively handed over the trousers to a female ex-Marine and petticoat rule began. Olga Swanson, of Moline, was installed as the first woman commander of the post .
1989 -- 25 years ago: The Illinois Quad City Civic Center captured the excitement and interest of a convention of auditorium managers this weekend in Reno, Nev. Bill Adams, civic center authority chairman, said the 10,000-seat arena planned for downtown Moline has caught the eye of construction firms, suppliers, management teams and concession groups.








(More History)