Sports can have an impact on anyone’s life, no matter their age. From youth to adults to seniors, sports are always a talking point. Today, youth sports are more important than ever as the world changes and technology is becoming more prominent. Elkin Recreation and Parks offers several ways for youth of the community to get involved in sports — no matter their experience level.
“Elkin Recreation and Parks offers youth basketball, soccer, baseball, softball, swimming, and tennis,” said Levi Shore, program supervisor for Elkin Recreation and Parks. “We are currently taking registration for fall baseball and soccer. Registration deadline is Aug. 15. Most of our sports programs are open to anyone, however a few do have some residency restrictions. To find out more, or to sign up, visit elkin.recdesk.com.”
Youth sports can teach kids a variety of lessons — from sharing, to compassion, to teamwork and everything in between.
“Youth sports can be extremely important in the lives of kids,” said Shore. “Exercise, social interaction and skill building are some of the obvious benefits. However, sports also offer an outlet for stress, a change of pace from school/homework and a chance to build self-esteem.”
Injuries in youth sports are something to expect, but Elkin Recreation is doing everything possible to limit the number of injuries that happen. If an injury does happen, Elkin Recreation will handle it to the best of their abilities.
“In any sport, there is the risk of injury at any time. We strive to lower those risks through offering programs in a controlled environment with sport specific safety/equipment requirements,” said Shore. “Some of the specifics include bat and helmet requirements for baseball/softball, infield face-mask requirements for softball, and shin guard/cleat requirements for soccer.
“Most recently, we have adopted a ‘no header’ policy for youth soccer. We typically follow the standards set by national youth organizations such as Little League, Cal Ripken League, US Youth Soccer, etc. As new rules/equipment/standards become available, we try to incorporate those into our programs. We also try to divide leagues by similar age groups whenever possible. In addition to equipment and league safety, we require all volunteer coaches to complete a criminal background screening.”
While bone and ligament injuries can be easy to treat, an injury that is not easy to diagnose or treat is a concussion. Elkin Recreation has a “no header” policy for youth sports, which helps cut down on the chance a concussion could happen on the field.
“Currently, we do not have a specific concussion protocol,” said Shore. “However, players with serious injuries (including head injuries) are given first aid/medical attention in a variety of ways. Depending on the severity of the injury, a player may be put into the care of his/her parents. For more severe injuries, EMS would be called via 911. Players with serious injuries including concussions are not permitted to play unless cleared by a doctor.”
Youth sports allow kids to play multiple sports and not stick to one specialization. Being able to play multiple sports promotes a healthy lifestyle and also gives the kids opportunities to try out new things.
“Have fun! This is as much a piece of advice for parents as it is kids,” said Shore on his advice to kids that play sports. “All too often kids aren’t allowed to be kids. I recommend to all parents and players to not take winning and losing at the youth level too seriously. I would also recommend trying as many enrichment activities as you can when you are young. Whether it’s sports, music, art, or something else entirely, you never know what you are going to like until you try it.”
Kids today have a variety of ways to express themselves whether it be through arts or through sports. As long as the main goal is to have a creative outlet and have fun along the way, the experience will have a lasting impact on their life.