Coaching legend, Vince Lombardi once said winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing. As much as we appreciate Coach Lombardi, i9 Sports is trying to change that way of thinking.
When our children head out to play sports, the pressure to win is so intense; a troubling new national survey reveals 59% of young athletes say they expect to get hurt as part of the game. What’s even more surprising – kids polled say coaches, teammates and in some cases even their own parents have tried to make them play injured and even suggested they hurt another player. 69% of young athletes who were hurt say they continued to play hurt and half of them say they hid their injuries so they could play.
The just released national survey of children (boys and girls), ages 8 – 14 who play sports reveals:
- 81% of those who have been hurt say their teammates/friends have thought of them as tough, cool, a good player, or even a hero when they played hurt and “took one for the team.”
- 42% of those hurt say they were called foul names if they sat out while hurt – some by their own mom and dad! Names include “wuss,” “whimp,” “cry baby” or “mama’s boy.” Other names were given but were too graphic to print.
- 16% of the respondents said they or their teammates tried to hurt another player. When asked who gave them the idea, 57% said teammates, 23% said their mom or dad, and 11% said coaches.
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“I’m concerned about the direction of youth sports,” says Dr. Robert Cantu, renowned neurosurgeon, expert on youth sports safety and acclaimed author of the book Concussion and our Kids. “Over the past twenty years or so it’s all become so serious. Fun no longer seems to be the main object. Now it seems to be about grooming your child to be a star…It can be taken to extremes.”
“Across the country, young players are all-too-frequent victims of a sports culture that’s turning its back on them,” says Mark Hyman, sports journalist and author of Until It Hurts: America’s Obsession With Youth Sports. “With each passing season youth sports seem to stray further and further from their core mission of providing healthy, safe and character-building recreation for children.”
More Than Band Aid Solutions:
i9 Sports has created two solutions to help identify youth sports safety issues:
- i9 Sports 9 Steps to Safe Play – i9 Sports created this free, downloadable safety checklist so parents can make sure their children’s teams follow best safety practices.
- i9 Sports Youth Sports Safety Survey – i9 Sports created this free, downloadable survey coaches and/or parents can give children to identify sports safety issues on the field before they become a big problem.
“We want to trigger some eye-opening discussions about dangerous behavior on the field to ignite real change,” says Brian Sanders, President of i9 Sports. “Parents and coaches may be surprised they have as much to learn about sports dangers as the children. We’re the adults here. The burden falls on us to direct the focus of youth sports leagues away from cut-throat winning and back to fun, safe play.”