Is Boxing For Kids Safe? (From Ages 4-14)
In the light of multi-billion boxing matches that have happened in the recent past, including the mind-blowing match between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, questions about the relevance, safety, and legitimacy concerns of boxing, especially for kids under the age of 14 has resurfaced.
Boxing for kids is somehow a controversial topic. Well, controversial at least according to some. Seeing as many parents are fans of boxing, or have participated in the sport, the natural question that arises is whether they should take their kids to boxing or should let the kids pick up boxing.
First, let`s all agree that boxing is accompanied by an aura of danger; and this contributes to a certain stigma around the sport. And again, let’s understand that this aura of danger is not undeserved since we all know that boxing is dangerous, and can even be lethal in extreme cases. However, for the sake of objectivity, we shall focus on the controlled boxing that is governed by safety international rules of boxing.
What are the Risks?
In the United States alone, more than 18,000 teenagers under the age bracket of 19 years undertake this competitive sport. This statistic does not include teen undertaking other similar combative sports such as Muay and mixed martial arts. In an age where obesity, diabetes, and other lifestyle disease is increasingly becoming manifested among children due to their sedentary lifestyle, this should be welcome information.
Apparently not. The medical profession has thrown its weight many times calling for the abolition or modification of the sport. In a report by The American Academy of Paediatrics and the Canadian Paediatric Society (CPS), the two bodies are recommending that doctors “vigorously oppose boxing for children and teenagers.”
According to Claire LeBlanc, MD, the lead author of the reports and chair of CPS, there is no reason why doctors should condone this sport among children, while it`s known that the sport carries risks for kids and might even have a long-lasting effect.
Their report is founded, in part, to the number of medical incidents related to boxing, which were reported by the US and Canadian health officials.
Their main concern, however, is based on the head injuries that kids and teens suffer by engaging in this sport. It`s a medical fact that consistent punches to the head have a cumulative and devastating effect. Other leading conditions pointed out by the medical professionals include concussions and cuts.
On the other hand, sports and boxing specialist have come out gun blazing and in defense of youth boxing.
According to Anthony Bartkowski, the executive director of USA Boxing, the skills and traits achieved through the participation of boxing usually prepare the kids for life. Also, he asserted that just like any other sport, boxing comes along with its own set of risks, but the positive and healthy traits achieved from the participation of the sport outweigh the risks.
The above statement has gained wide-held consensus within the boxing communities, with regards to kids boxing.
Is Boxing Right For Your Kid?
Most parents are often judgmental and a little scared putting their kids in the ring. However, if you are smart, you can teach your kid to fight responsibly and competitively.
Yes, I agree boxing is not 100% safe, but which sport is? Some of the so-called gentle sports can also result in injuries and a fatal one. If you decide to seek dangerous injuries, even in modest games, you`ll surely find them.
For instance, consider the tackles, fouls, and injuries associated with football. Also, consider basketball players slamming on the hard floor and getting trampled by other players. Finally, consider a skier slamming on a brick wall or trees at speeds reaching up to 100 miles per hour.
In a nutshell, no sport is risk-free, and it all depends on how the sport is performed.
- Do the Benefits of Boxing Outweigh the Risks?
- Why should you let your kid engage in boxing?
There are a variety of reasons why you should. Most importantly, there are a wealth of reasons/benefits that are only manifested in kids engaging in boxing and not seen in other alternative sports.
Here are the four major benefits of boxing to your kid.
1. Keeps Violence Away
Kids are faced with plenty of challenges, including bullying at school, busy schedule during school days, homework and chores at home. Such stress often leads to violence among kids, and it`s not uncommon to see children engaging in acts of violence including fighting, or regressive behaviors.
Kids need a positive outlet to feel safe, whether they`re away from home or school.
Signing your kid for a boxing lesson can teach your kid physical positivity and can be the perfect outlet to release anger. Remember is boxing a sport, and similar to other sports, it has a stress-relieving effect, because it releases the feel-good hormone known as dopamine.
Boxing, however, is more effective in physical positivity, especially when your kid’s workouts by hitting a heavy bag or a lighter speed bag. Punching innate object is an ideal way to release any built-up energy from anger and stress. Punching bags are particularly de-stressing because it allows your kid to punch things and work off pent-up aggression.
2. Keeps Obesity away
According to State of Obesity Organization, the national obesity rate in children stands at a whopping 18.5%. Obesity among children has been associated with a gamut of consequences including increased cardiovascular diseases, high blood pressure, diabetes, insulin resistance, among other lifestyle diseases.
Boxing is an effective and ideal way to curb these consequences by mitigating against excessive weight gain. Boxing is an extremely intense and involving sport. Moreover, the sport is aerobic, and the high-intense nature of the sport is ideal for breaking down the calories.
3. Builds Confidence
Even without the need of stepping into the ring, the rigorous training and the nature of boxing is sufficient to develop and build incredible children in children.
Similarly, encouraging kids and constantly giving kids positive affirmations through competitive matches can be quite healthy in developing their confidence. Equally, the small wins during training, combined with the motivation of the trainers can help in improving the confidence of the kids.
Finally, challenges against tough competitors help in developing a strong character and can serve as a major boost to their confidence.
4. Learn Self-defense
Learning how to throw fighting punches such as jabs, uppercuts, crosses, and hooks can prepare your kid to defend themselves if need be. Additionally, boxing takes a deep dive into proper techniques and footwork that incorporates speed, effectiveness, and awareness.
In most cases, trainers ensure that kids understand the art of organized fighting and encourage them only to use these techniques outside of the ring only for defense purposes.
Safe Way for Kids to Learn Boxing
Boxing can provide an effective way of providing an outlet for natural aggression and a thirst for risk. Contrarywise, if left unsupervised and uncontrolled, boxing can similarly erupt to a tragic and terrible outcome.
So what are some of the safe ways for kids to learn boxing?
Choose the Instructors Carefully
When choosing an instructor or boxing school for your kid, ensure that choose an instructor who is certified by the relevant bodies. Additionally, ensure that the instructor has valuable traits and one who is going to treat your kids like their own.
Proper Training Gear
While having proper equipment might sound obvious when it comes to boxing, you`ll be surprised by the number of parents who allow your kids to go into the sports without the right gear.
To keep the injuries to the minimum, having a proper gear, which includes headgear, wrist tape, mouthguards, sparring gloves, chest protectors for the girls and groin protectors for the boys.
Time To Get Started on Boxing
While boxing for kids is a controversial topic at first glance, it`s actually a safe and even beneficial sport. The benefits of this sports range from the physical, social to physiological. While training often takes place away from the ring, professional matches are usually conducted in a more supervised and controlled atmosphere under the watch of professional and trained adults.
To add to the safety and comfort of the game, the participants must wear protective gear. Additionally, the matches are limited to round for only a couple of minutes.
In a nutshell, boxing is beneficial for the kids, in addition to creating a healthy and positive change in the environment, they find themselves.