Veronica Roberts

August 31, 2010]-----Kids and adult sports, especially extreme sports. How well are our children equipped to handle the physical rigors and emotional battering that is part and parcel of the sports world?

The recent death of 13 year old, Peter Lenz, killed when he fell off his motorcycle during a warm-up lap for the U.S. Grand Prix Racers Union and run over by 12 year old Xavier Zayat, has some wondering how young is too young?

Earlier this year, 16 year old Abby Sutherland had to be rescued when her attempt at sailing around the world solo, went awry. 13 year old Jordan Romero, became the youngest person to climb Mount Everest. The list seem to be getting longer with kids attempting adult daring sports and adventures.

Everyday, they seem to be pushing the boundaries and some parents seem not to be setting up any. I've heard of several children collapsing even during acceptable sports like basketball and football. So I wonder, what's happening to their bodies in extreme sporting events?

Climbing Mount Everest, skateboarding, snowboarding, racing, sailing around the world are just some of the dangerous sporting expeditions children are engaging in.

Experts say that children aren't just miniature versions of adults. They are quite different, physiologically, psychologically and emotionally, and parents/guardians need to impose boundaries on what they can and cannot do.

Dr. Lyle Micheli, director of the division of sports medicine at Children's Hospital of Boston and an adviser to the International Olympic Committee's medical commission on youth sports, said, "Kids aren't little adults..they are different and have to be protected by society," reported the AP.

The medical debate is still raging, on whether mainstream sports like soccer and football, can cause serious concussions in children that adversely affect them for the rest of their lives.Remember, children's brains aren't fully developed like adults are and their impulse control is at it's worse as teenagers.

I recently saw a report where a teen girl had such severe concussions from playing basketball, she couldn't ever return to the court. She was devastaed, for basketball was her life. Even more troubling was, she didn't know she had the concussions until she collapsed one day.

We don't want to smother our children by being over-bearingly protective and controlling but we also don't want to be so lax, that all boundaries are non-existent. We need a happy medium, and as parents, that balancing act can be extremely delicate and tricky, especially with teens.

My teenage son wanted to wrestle. I told him no. He was quite mad. I said no because a few years earlier he had a blood clot on his spine. Paralyzed him. Doctors had to do emergency surgery. It was a scary, rough, long road to recovery. Missed a whole semester of school. He's a fighter. He recovered, can walk again.

To say he was a huge WWE fan at the time, would be an understatement. He has since outgrown it a bit. Diversified his interests. You see parents, if you say no, their world do not come to a painful end. They adapt.

So, how do you protect your children, while at the same time allow them room to expand, grow and follow their dreams?

By Veronica P Roberts 8.31.10