COMMENT:

New figures on children's injuries touted by ACC yesterday will come as no surprise to parents of sporty children.

Having five kids, we've seen a lot of sporting injuries on a regular basis - we have one child currently injured in fact - in a moon boot on crutches. It feels inevitable that kids plus sport equals injuries.

The figures show children under 10 suffered 63 per cent more sports-related injuries between 2008 and 2017, while those aged 10-14 were also hurt 60 per cent more.

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Experts fear children are doing too much high-intensity sport, at too young an age, causing stress and creating a spike in injuries.

Obviously for parents it's hard to know what to do these days: one moment we're being told our kids don't play enough sport or do enough exercise and to get them off the couch - next minute, we're being told too much sport is bad for them.

So which is it? Well I doubt there's a straightforward answer and like everything when it comes to raising children, it's probably about the individual child more than it is any one cut and dry approach.

But we start asking the inevitable questions don't we?
Are they playing too much?
Are they starting too young?
Are they under too much pressure?
Are they playing the wrong kinds of sports?

What I do know from our experience is that the pressure to play school sport is intense.
Pressure to commit to teams, participate to your fullest ability each week, pressure to train, pressure to perform.

Sometimes the worst pressure though, comes from the parents themselves.
A rugby sideline can sometimes be a terrifying place. But shouty rugby parents have nothing on dance Moms. They're equally terrifying, just in a different way.

But here's the thing about kids sport - nine times out of 10, unless your child is a future Olympian, it's all a phase.

The obsession with the hockey boots, bat and balls lasts only about as long as it takes to go purchase all those things and pay them off. Lots of kids take up sport, just as many quit.

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The worst part of how these numbers on kids and injuries were presented is that there'll be many parents who look at them and say - oh sport's obviously too dangerous for kids.
But it's not.

Kids have been falling over at netball and smacking their limbs on the rugby field since time immemorial.

Yes we need to be careful and risk assess depending on the child, their capabilities, workload, ability etc - but we also need to make sure these figures aren't another excuse to wrap kids up in any more cotton wool than they already are.