Sport is good. We all know that. It keeps children fit, gets them out into the fresh air, gives them something to do other than hang around and join gangs and get into trouble.
It also quite genuinely gives them a good reason to eat healthily and look after themselves and teaches them how to get on with all sorts of people and work together in a team. It also teaches them that success only comes with hard work and that if you want to succeed you have to be prepared to fail and learn from your failures. And…. it allows them to make great friends and to develop a real sense of self worth. So what is there not to love about it?
Well, despite the best efforts of sports bodies and the sometimes misdirected requirements of health and safety, it can be dangerous. A few pulled muscles and twisted ankles are not the end of the world but over the last six months I have heard of two teenage boys who have had really horrible rugby accidents – one with a shattered thigh, the other with a totally dislocated hip – some of which may stay with them for the rest of their lives.
And now I have just read a piece in the new Latitudes on line about concussion – a relatively common sports injury especially in contact sports such as rugby. A study, using data from the US 2007-2008 National Survey of Children’s Health, found a significant association with episodes of concussion and subsequent teenage depression.
Jeffrey Max, M.D., a psychiatrist who specializes in psychiatric outcomes of traumatic brain injury in children and adolescents at the University of California, San Diego noted, “In our research, we’ve found that about 10 percent of the kids had a full depressive disorder or subclinical depressive disorder 6 months after a concussion.”
To read more of their findings see the Latitudes article – and meanwhile, if you have kids out on those sports fields, take bashes on the head seriously and make sure that they get properly treated.
Looking for an image on line to accompany this piece I came across the one above used by the Daily Mail to illustrate a story about 13-year-old Hannan Amed who had collapsed and died of an asthma attack (or an exercise related anaphylactic attack?) after playing rugby at his new school…. Which is not to say that children with asthma should not play games – just that if your child has asthma you must ensure that it is well managed if they are to have a safe and normal school life….