COMPETITIVE SPORTS organized by school or other community agencies are now played so universally in all parts of the country by children 13 years of age and younger that the above organizations wish to suggest positive and realistic guidelines to govern participation.
Children of this age are not miniature adults; they are boys and girls in the process of maturation into adults. They seek and can profit from suitable play opportunities, but the benefits are not automatic. High quality supervision and a broad range of physical education activities, including sports adapted to the needs and capacities of growing children, are required for full realization of benefits.
A variety of competitive sports, appropriately a part of a sound physical education program, has the advantage of directing funds, facilities, instruction, and leadership toward all children in the school system or community. Such a program avoids providing a narrow sports experience for children or one directed only to the physically gifted, the well developed, the skillful, or the precocious child.
The problems involved are sufficiently significant and variable to warrant each community's having a local committee representing education, recreational, and medical specialists. Decisions about all school or community athletic programs may then be made in terms of local interest and needs, adequate supervision, and assurance of proper safeguards. Such decisions about athletic programs for children of elementary school age should embody local consideration of the following:
1. Proper physical conditioning.
2. Conduct of the sport: (a) competent teaching and supervision with regard for the relative hazards of each particular sport; (b) modification of rules, game equipment and facilities to suit the maturity level of the participants; (c) qualified officials.
- Copyright © 1968 by the American Academy of Pediatrics