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Sports Facts

Close to 6 million high school boys and girls take part in team sports on the courts, in the pools, on the fields, and in the gyms.

Another 20 million join in recreational sports outside of school.

When a body is fit, it looks and feels better.

Active bodies stay healthier.

Sports activities can promote a sense of personal satisfaction in young people which can lead to increased social acceptance.

A physical medical exam with your doctor can help highlight physical strengths and weaknesses. It can also help you choose the sport that will be most rewarding for you.

The way a young person is built can also help determine his or her ability to perform certain tasks within sports.

Age, weight, and size should not be the only measures when deciding whether to compete in a sport at a certain level. A young teenager's physical and emotional development is also important.

In puberty, boys gain more muscle mass and, therefore, more strength.

Late-developing teens should delay contact sports until their bodies have caught up with their more mature peers.

A young person should not be pushed into a sport that he or she is not physically or emotionally ready to handle.

Until puberty, boys and girls can compete together because boys and girls are almost the same size and weight.

By taking part in sports, girls gain self-confidence and a healthy respect for physical fitness.

If there is not a team for girls in a certain sport, some laws state that a girl must be allowed to compete for a position on the boys' team.

Despite safety measures such as protective padding and helmets, the risk of injury is present in all sports. Football leads the list of sports causing the greatest risk.

Young kids and their parents should always be aware of the risks involved with each sport activity.

Your chance of injury increases with the degree of contact in a sport.

Only about 5% of sports injuries involve fractures.

The greatest number of injuries, two thirds of the total, are sprains and strains.

The main source of stress in a young athlete is the pressure to win.

A young athlete will respond better to rewards for trying hard or for gaining skills than to punishment and criticism for losing.

In contact sports, only players of similar height, weight, ability, and maturity should be matched as opponents.

The degree of stress caused by sports often is minor compared to other sources such as family problems, peer conflicts, school pressures, etc.

Sports can teach the skills for coping with stress caused by any problem.

A child having trouble in the classroom still needs all the benefits of exercise, competition, and a sense of accomplishment.

Source: American Academy of Pediatrics

CWK Network 2000