My son, Murphy, is passionate about playing football. Along with that passion comes bumps, bruises, and a fair share of helmet clashing. The physical intensity and risk of injury rises each year as he ages, and his practice schedule is a grueling 6-8 hour-per-week regimen. Murphy managed to play relatively injury free until well into his third year in 2012.
In May 2013, my eleven year-old son Giovanni was pitching for his little league baseball team in Staten Island, New York. It was the bottom of the fifth inning. He had already struck out two batters and the third batter, about a foot taller than my son, was on deck. Giovanni’s first pitch went right down the middle of the plate. The batter swung and hit, and the ball hit my son in the face.
There’s nothing that feels worse for young athletes than getting hurt and having to sit on the sidelines while their team goes on to victory. Our new report, “Changing the Culture of Youth Sports,” explores how the culture of youth sports may be keeping kids out of the game. Here's a look at what parents, coaches and athletes need to know.