America is Getting too Soft:

Why Kids Should Play Football

By Matthew Friedman

Did you know that based on a 2012 report by the LA Unified School District, athletes attended 21 more days of school than their peers? In addition, athletes also had GPA'S 0.55 to 0.74 points higher than non student athletes on average (McCampbell). These statistics are outstanding. The best sport for these student athletes is football. Youth football develops players' academic skills, their relationships and their physical health throughout the season.

Youth football can help academically in multiple ways. "Football can even help with college. For many students, an athletic scholarships is the only way they can afford to go" (Shotz). Many people believe a college education is a very important accomplishment, but for some, can only be gotten through a scholarship from a sport. In fact, football gives more scholarships than any other sport according to Jennifer Shotz, author of "Should Kids Play Football." I believe this is very important for student athletes who have a strong desire to go to college but can not afford it.

Did you know that obesity in children and adolescents has been steadily climbing for the last thirty years? Actually, the Center for Disease Control states that obesity in children has doubled and tripled for adolescents in thirty years (Cisar). In my opinion, as well as many others, obesity in children and adolescents is increasing at alarming rates. Youth football is the best option to get exercise at a time where obesity is increasing at alarming speeds. For example, "studies show that being physically active through football lowers body fat, strengthens muscles, and increases the likelihood of continuing good health habits later in life" (Alic). Football grants many health benefits and increases the chance of being a healthy adult. This is very important in life. Furthermore, a 72 lb 10 year old would burn 250-390 calories in a two hour practice (Cisar). Children burn calories while having fun by playing youth football. By burning that many calories, the risk of obesity is greatly reduced.

Many children use youth football as a way to grow as individuals, develop friendships and create other lifelong relationships (McCampbell). These friendships and lifelong relationships are very important for children. Football can help define young athletes as they grow and prosper as individuals. Dave Cisar said, "I've seen very shy and introverted young boys blossom as they develop confidence in themselves, and their team." Young athletes can use football as a way to grow out of shyness and integrate themselves into the world. Football is always a great place to develop and grow as a person. Football can improve peer to peer relationships and create friendships for life.
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Youth football teaches players teamwork and cooperation."By playing, kids can learn to work with others to accomplish goals" (McCampbell). Most kids have a positive opinion on football so they learn teamwork while having fun. What parent would not want their child to learn while having fun? Certainly none that I know! Dave Cisar stated in his article "Defending Youth Football, The Benefits" that he has seen kids who came into [football] camp as enemies who developed respect for each other through cooperation and experiences on the team. In my opinion, this is great for players. It is always a great thing for enemies to develop respect for one another.
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Some critics believe that youth football should not be played by children. They say it is too dangerous for young athletes to play (Kaufman). Yes, football, like practically everything in life, has a risk involved. Steps are being taken to lower these risks though. We don't live in isolation cowering away from every danger in life, so why should we cower away from football?
The positive effects of youth football can be seen in academics, relationships, and physical health. Today's society is not spending enough time exercising or spending time with others in person. Youth football is a quality opportunity to exercise and have fun with friends while also gaining academic benefits. If we stop kids from playing football, how will they exercise? They won't. How will they interact with others in person outside of school? They won't. We must continue to let children play football and watch as they reap the benefits of playing on a youth football team.