Boxing can offer teens an alternative to street life and gangs — but it can also be dangerous. Citing the risk of everything from concussions and brain injuries to dietary issues, the American Academy of Pediatrics is renewing its call to ban boxing for kids 19 and under. The move has incited "fierce resistance" from the boxing community — advocates say the seemingly violent sport teaches discipline and a work ethic to the 18,000 U.S. children and teenagers registered to compete. But is a sport that involves "deliberate blows to the head" just too dangerous for kids' growing brains and bodies?
Yes. The damage boxing can do is clear: I love boxing, says Janelle Harris at The Stir, but there is no way my son or daughter is going "anywhere near anybody's boxing ring." The evidence can be seen in the faces and movements of retired boxers. The best of them, like Sugar Ray Leonard, may be sharp, but they are still slow. Others have fared worse and have even died from boxing-related health complications.
"Some sports are too rough for even the toughest kids to play"
Boxing is one of the safer sports out there: There's a reason why boxing is called "the sweet science," says Earl McRae at Slam Sports. It's about precision, skill, and strategy, not just blows to the head. Besides, strict regulations — such as shock-absorbing head gear, gloves, and limited time in the ring — help protect amateur boxers. "This bunch of whiny hand-wringers" just don't understand the sport.
"Kids boxing ban ludicrous"
This is just the beginning for kids' sport bans: Boxing isn't the only sport with a focus on head injuries, says Bob Cook at Forbes. What about other collision sports like football and ice hockey? Sure, "injuring your opponent might not be the stated object of those games — but players don't exactly get discouraged by their coaches and others for doing so." If this ban goes through, other sports are sure to follow.
"Pediatricians try to knock out youth boxing — but should other concussion-intensive sports watch out?"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- The mystery behind China's aggressive push into space
- Here's the schedule very successful people follow every day
- The 5 best and worst states for a well-lived life
- Why Texas' abortion rates aren't falling as quickly as everyone expected
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Yes, Republicans can impeach President Obama
- What religious traditionalists can teach us about sex
- How to save Meet the Press
- The 6 best low-cost smartphones
Subscribe to the Week