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Youth Sports – The Positives And Negatives

Emma Hovan
To play or not to play. Many children are starting sports earlier than ever before. Eighth grader Livi Adams shared that she thinks that kids should start early. “I think children should get into sports as soon as possible because they need to be introduced to a healthy lifestyle before it’s too late,” Adams said.

As a little girl was rushing through the grass, with the summer sun blaring on her skin, her cleats being mired down by the muddy field, something in her sparked.


Eighth grader Brianna Hudson started playing sports when she was just a toddler. Starting with  soccer when she was six-years old, she has continued to play sports like basketball and track while in her teen years.


When she was asked about her experience about youth sports, Hudson had a positive response.


“I think playing sports as a kid really shaped me into who I am today,” Hudson said.


Similarly to her, is Eighth grader Katie Bettwy.


Bettwy started her athletic career at the age of five-years old when her parents enrolled her in gymnastics. Since then, she has consistently competed at a high level in the sport.


However, despite their similarities, there is one significant difference between Hudson and Bettwy.


When Bettwy was just seven years old, she was practicing a skill on bars, but she was thrown off. She sustained a serious elbow injury, which took nine months of recovery to heal.


According to Bettwy, the rehabilitation process was a long and painful experience.


“My mom would have to help me with physical therapy, and I’d be bawling my eyes out,” Bettwy said.


So even though both Hudson and Bettwy were both put into sports at a young age, they had very different experiences.


From these two different perspectives and encounters, we can see the positives and negatives of youth sports. The thing is, there is more evidence about the effects of youth sports than just personal experiences.


According to, “Almost one third of all injuries incurred in childhood are sports-related injuries.”


But it’s not just kids’ physical health that is being affected, it’s also their mental health.


According to, “Researchers have noted that athletes can experience the same mental health disorders as non-athletes, such as depression, anxiety, ADHD, and eating disorders. But they have the additional stressors of demanding physical training (including overuse injuries)…”


Even though the evidence about the negative effects of youth sports are unexpected, the positives are just shocking.


According to, “Research shows that participation in youth sports can be linked to immediate and long-term health benefits for youth, according to Bozeman Sherwood, M.D.”


There are also studies that show the positives of youth sports for children.


 According to, “Kids who play sports have fewer emotional and behavioral problems and are less likely to do drugs or have bad body image.”


So, even though there is a lot of evidence about the positives and negatives, in the end it is one’s opinion whether or not you think youth sports is beneficial for children or not. Readers can take data and personal experiences like Hudson’s and Bettwy’s to come up with your own beliefs and decide where you stand on the matter.

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About the Contributor
Emma Hovan
Emma Hovan, Reporter
Hi! My name is Emma Hovan, and I'm a news reporter for Livewire. Outside of school, I enjoy playing tennis, being with my puppy and listening to Taylor Swift.

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    ViviJan 31, 2024 at 1:35 pm

    I think that youth sports are insanly benifitial. I did gymnastics, tennis, and a whole lot of other sports as a kid and they have helped me so much over the years!

  • M

    McKenna KoeckJan 12, 2024 at 8:22 am

    I tried gymnastics when I was four and soccer when I was 6. I sadly quit both of them after less than a year. I just wasn’t interested I guess. Sometimes I wish I would’ve stuck to it so that I could get regular excersize, as I’m not very active. But, I’m not really a sports person.