Kids and Sports

Fresno, CA It's important parents help their kids develop an approach that is both mentally and physically healthy.

A sport in its purest form is fun. That's why kids sign up.

Kingsburg High Tyler Bray is living the dream. The 6-3 quarterback has earned a scholarship to play at Tennessee next year. Tyler's cool under pressure.

Tyler Bray, Kingsburg High Quarterback said: "Oh I never really try to think about that. I just kind of have fun. Football's a fun game. The day it's not fun is the day you stop playing so just try to keep it fun."

Tyler lettered in three sports, each season bringing a fresh start.

Tyler Bray, Kingsburg High Quarterback said: "The sports baseball and basketball have helped me really with my footwork. I've always been kind of a slow kid so it's always helped me with football, dropping back and throwing the ball."

Kingsburg High's Tyler Bray is a throwback to another era when kids played as many sports as they like. Today more and more kids are urged to specialize and concentrate on just one sport."

The term "specialization" troubles Kingsburg Athletic Director Doug Davis said: "You run a risk of burning kids out."

Dr. Rod Kraft said you also run the risk of injury. Kraft has seen a rise in elbow injuries among kids 9-15 who play baseball

Dr. Rod Kraft, Sports Medicine Specialist said: "I've had kids literally crying when i tell them they can't throw because they've tweaked their elbow growth plate."

Kids' shoulders are vulnerable to overuse. Knee pain is common among kids who constantly run and jump.

Dr. Rod Kraft, Sports Medicine Specialist "There's a tugging effect. Eventually it causes a little distraction to the growth plate then its hurts. Then they'll start seeing a lump on their knee."

The pain normally eases with rest.

Tyler Bray, Kingsburg High Quarterback said: "You can't push a kid too much or they're just not going to want to do it. Let them relax and do whatever they want and have fun with it."

The push to specialize in one sport may be stronger at bigger high schools.

Doug Davis, Athletic Director said: "Maybe more people are sold that hey it's higher competition, more competition and you'll have a better chance to play if you specialize."

From a medical perspective, a healthier approach is to play a second sport

Doug Davis, Athletic Director said: "I think it helps protect them because it gets them away from that same sport. It's that overuse injury continuing to do that same sport over and over again that creates the injury."

But Dr. Kraft says sometimes parents ignore that advice. "There are some that are so die-hard and some that are so emphatic about their children's' career that sometimes they don't hear what we're saying

Tyler Bray said kids should at least try a variety of sports.

Tyler Bray, Kingsburg High Quarterback said: "Yeah it helps a lot. Just having fun with your friends."

But the push to be the best may be taking the fun out of the game.

Doug Davis, Athletic Director said: "I think there's parents, coaches and players and we really kind of mess it up when we try to do each other's roles."

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