NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.

Athletes growing up

When you are a young child and you are growing up, depending on your interests you might want to get involved with a sports team.

As you see other people and friends start to grow into themselves and maybe start to play sports you might find yourself interested too. A lot of people think it takes just a couple of easy steps to play a sport, you just sign up and show up, well that is not the case.

When you decide to play a sport, you need to really take a lot of things into factor.

Time, health, and money are all involved with playing a sport growing up and when you do sign up for a sport you are putting all these things at risk.

First, I want to start off with one of the most important things in life that we must manage which is time.

As you are growing up you start really struggling on managing your time and what aspects of life the time should be focused on.

With the struggle of separating time, with school, family and your social life adding a sport to this will take away a lot of you time for this type of stuff.

When playing a sport there is always some sort of practice and as you get older, and the sport gets more serious there is a high chance that you will be practicing every day during the week.

From my personal experience, middle school is when coaches feel that is needed to start having practices every day after school.

With this demand there becomes some issues that might interfere with other aspects of your life.

Let’s say you as a student struggle with doing your homework and getting assignments in on time, having a practice every day is really going to affect your work.

The problem with this is that most schools have a specific standard on grades when playing a sport. Most school’s do not allow students athletes to play if they do not maintain a certain GPA, or a system where they must get certain letter grades.

When I was in middle school, I was the team manager and everyone on the team was expected to always be passing every class or you could not play.

If any of your grades did end up going below a 70 you would be asked to get the grade back up or you wouldn’t be able to play, in my case, manage.

So before signing up for a sport you should really think about your education first because at the end of the day that is what is most important.

Also, you cannot forget that playing a sport is going to take time from you being at home with your loved ones or going out with your friends on the weekend.

So, it is important to make sure you have your priorities straight before committing to anything.

The next thing you really must think about when signing up for any sport, whether it involves contact or not, is your health.

As a young adult it is extremely important to keep your body healthy when it concerns broken bones, torn ligaments, concussion, etc.

Playing a sport does put you at a risk for injury and depending what sport it can be more serious.

For example, if you want to play football you have to understand you are signing up for the one of the most dangerous sports you can play because of all the contact.

The thing that bothers parents the most I think when letting their kid play football is the high risk of head injury.

According to Dr. Jaycie Loewen, “Statistics show that about 20% of all high school football players experience brain trauma every football season and that football is responsible for more than 60% of concussions in high school sports” according to an article in Cognitive FX.

So, as you can see signing up for football does put a risk to your physical health. This is something you really must decide if you want to put your body at risk, for the rest of your life.

The main problem is that most of these injuries tend to linger with you for the rest of time that could lead to surgeries and multiple complications.

Lastly you must think about the financial state you are in when you are signing up for a sport.

Like I said earlier a lot of people tend to make the mistake and think they can just sign up for a sport and show up, but that is not the case.

First you must think of the organization you are playing for.
If it is not a school team there is mostly a startup fee for playing the sport which can really range depending on how serious the organization is.

For example, if you are playing for an AAU team you are most likely paying a lot of money to play, or your parents are depending on the situation. That is only the start.

The next important thing we need to think about is equipment.

Sports equipment is extremely expensive no matter what sport you are playing.

A survey done by NBC news shows, “Americans also spent more than $33 billion on athletic equipment and $19 billion on gym memberships over the past year, according to the survey.

In all, consumers shelled out more than $100 billion on sports-related purchases in the last 12 months” according to an article in CNBC.

So before signing up parents should make sure that they are financially stable enough to put their kid through a certain program.

To conclude my friend Evan Leblanc who is a former student at Northern Essex Community College took some time out of his day to answer some questions.

Although Evan did not play any sports at NECC, he played varsity football at Central Catholic, a local high school in Lawrence.
I started the conversation with me explaining how I would be asking questions concerning the risks of playing a sport.

My first question to him was, when did he begin to realize that the sport, he was playing was so dangerous and could affect his life?

Evan answered with, “I really didn’t realize how dangerous football was until we started to practice in high school. We were one of the top schools at football, so coming I was expecting us to be hitting each other a lot, but it was the opposite.

“Our coach felt it was too dangerous to hit during practice and was left for the games.”

Next, I went into asking him how much money he think his parents have spent on him on his equipment.

Evan answered immediately with, “A lot, especially for me because as a kid I began to grow faster than the other kids so I would constantly be finding myself needing new cleats, shoulder pads, and even a helmet, so yes we were constantly spending money every couple of months, but my parents really didn’t mind it because they knew how much I loved playing football.”
My last question to Evan was it worth all the time he lost with friends and family, everything he dedicated to the sport?

Evan responded with, “Absolutely it was worth it I made some of the best memories of my life playing football, I would not change it for anything.”

The bottom line the decision to play the sport is up to you.

If you have a certain love for the game, where you just find yourself happy and smiling while playing than the risks might be worth taking.

It is just important to know all the risks before committing to a team that needs you.