As fall approaches, the health risk to young athletes is ever-present and parents, coaches, schools and leagues need to take an active role in educating themselves to protect the athletes from unnecessary risk.
There is a culture of denial inherent in the way athletes think about injury and long-term health. From Pop Warner, Little League and AYSO, athletes are taught to ignore injury, tolerate pain and focus solely on the the next play. They desperately want to play, are inherently competitive and don't want an injury to isolate them from their teammates. They will put anything in their bodies to enhance performance and will expose their bodies to stresses that are unhealthy.
Most people would have the following priorities when it comes to health:
•Long term health
•Ability to play in a season
•Ability to play in a game
•Ability to participate in the next play.