We're unable to sign you in at this time. Please try again in a few minutes.
We were able to sign you in, but your subscription(s) could not be found. Please try again in a few minutes.
There may be a problem with your account. Please contact the AMA Service Center to resolve this issue.
Contact the AMA Service Center:
Telephone: 1 (800) 262-2350 or 1 (312) 670-7827  *   Email: subscriptions@jamanetwork.com
Error Message ......
Advice for Patients |

Children and Organized Sports FREE

Megan A. Moreno, MD, MSEd, MPH; Fred Furtner; Frederick P. Rivara, MD, MPH
Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2011;165(4):376. doi:10.1001/archpediatrics.2011.31.
Text Size: A A A
Published online

Many children participate in organized youth sports. In the United States, it is estimated that 44 million children participate in at least 1 sports team. There are many benefits to children from participating in sports, including learning about fitness, teamwork, and discipline. Parents and coaches can work together to help encourage children to enjoy sports safely.



  • Younger children are at higher risk for injury related to organized sports, so they may need modified guidelines for playing in certain sports to reduce the chance of injury. Guidelines such as no headfirst sliding in baseball and no bodychecking in hockey are examples of modifications to reduce injury among younger players. Other safety guidelines can include smaller playing fields, shorter game times, and matching opponents by weight rather than age.

  • Be sure your child wears all protective gear appropriate for that sport. This may include helmets, knee pads, or mouth guards. Many sports-related injuries occur during practices so it is important that your child wears the appropriate gear for both practices as well as games.

  • Ensure that your child drinks enough fluids to stay hydrated during sports practices and games. Fancy sports drinks are not needed to stay hydrated; a simple water bottle will work fine.


  • Encourage your child to experience a variety of sports. Focusing on only one sport from a young age, sometimes called “sports specialization,” may mean that your child misses out on the opportunity to learn about other sports that he or she may enjoy.

  • Remember that the purpose of youth sports is not to win but to learn, experience, and enjoy.

  • Parent participation in their children's sports is important, but too much emphasis on competition or performance may rob children of the opportunity to learn that sports and exercise can be fun.


  • Participating in sports allows opportunities for children and teens to learn about rules, turn taking, good sportsmanship, and teamwork.


  • Sports are a great way to complement, not replace, regular exercise that is part of free play, child-organized games, recreational sports, or physical education classes. Some sports practices may not provide the full recommendation for daily exercise. A recent study in this month's Archives found that some sports practices did not meet the daily guidelines for exercise. The researchers concluded that teaching coaches and parents about providing opportunities for both exercise and sports experience for all players may help improve children's fitness.


Your pediatrician can assess your child's developmental readiness to participate in an organized sport, as well as provide medical screening prior to starting the sport.


To find this and other Advice for Patients articles, go to the Advice for Patients link on the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine Web site at http://www.archpediatrics.com.


Source: American Academy of Pediatrics, Statement on Organized Sports for Children and Adolescents

Box Section Ref ID

The Advice for Patients feature is a public service of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. The information and recommendations appearing on this page are appropriate in most instances, but they are not a substitute for medical diagnosis. For specific information concerning your child's medical condition, Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine suggests that you consult your child's physician. This page may be photocopied noncommercially by physicians and other health care professionals to share with patients. To purchase bulk reprints, call 312/464-0776.




Also Meets CME requirements for:
Browse CME for all U.S. States
Accreditation Information
The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
Note: You must get at least of the answers correct to pass this quiz.
Please click the checkbox indicating that you have read the full article in order to submit your answers.
Your answers have been saved for later.
You have not filled in all the answers to complete this quiz
The following questions were not answered:
Sorry, you have unsuccessfully completed this CME quiz with a score of
The following questions were not answered correctly:
Commitment to Change (optional):
Indicate what change(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
Your quiz results:
The filled radio buttons indicate your responses. The preferred responses are highlighted
For CME Course: A Proposed Model for Initial Assessment and Management of Acute Heart Failure Syndromes
Indicate what changes(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.


Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

3 Citations

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging & repositioning the boxes below.

See Also...
Articles Related By Topic
Related Collections
PubMed Articles