New studies indicate that allowing kids to play contact sports like boxing and rugby should be considered as a possible brain injury.
Strong evidence was found in the study to link impact sports to severe brain injuries in children, which raises legal questions. The researchers contend that this harm defies both UK child abuse laws and the policies of the sports organizations themselves.
Children's sports shouldn't purposefully damage their developing brains. Rather than training them to play elite-level sports, they should put more of an emphasis on enjoyment, health, and social development, according to study leader Professor Eric Anderson of the University of Winchester.
Schools don't ask for consent
Based on a research study by universities in Winchester, Nottingham Trent, and Bournemouth, schools that include sports in their curriculum have not sought consent from children regarding potential injury risks in the future.
According to the study, which was originally published in The Times, there is growing evidence that brain damage from even a "knock to the head" can result in dementia or Parkinson's disease.
Sports for kids shouldn't purposefully damage their brains, according to Eric Anderson, a professor of sport at the University of Winchester and the study's lead author, who spoke to The Times. Rather than teaching them how to play elite sports, they ought to put more of an emphasis on enjoyment, well-being, and social growth.
"These collisions are abusive to a child's brain because they impair cognition and raise the risk of dementia and neurodegenerative diseases," he further added.
There is a commonly held belief that physically disciplining a child in the context of sports is considered abusive, whereas doing so outside of sports is seen as socially permissible, he stated, as cited in the Times. "Our objective is to change that perception. The brain suffers damage in both scenarios, irrespective of the setting," he continued.
The study clearly distinguishes between sports like rugby, which purposely involve physical contact, and basketball, which involves accidental collisions. The researchers emphasize that their recommendations are especially relevant to children's participation.
Despite our focus on sports research, certain individuals may dismiss our viewpoints, assuming that we are against sports or attempting to instill fear in children. Nevertheless, there exists empirical evidence indicating harm to children's brains. Consequently, it is imperative to regulate contact sports. Educational institutions and athletic organizations have a responsibility to safeguard children involved in sports from potential harm. Professor Anderson asserts that society should acknowledge brain injury as a distinct form of child abuse.