According to the article, in a recent study, researchers at the Center for Injury Biomechanics, a joint effort of Virginia Tech and Wake Forest, estimated there are currently 3.5 million USA football players in youth leagues. Furthermore, while youth league players have fewer and lower-magnitude head impacts than high school and college players, high-magnitude hits do occur, and most happen in practice.
While we wish our sports cousin of football the least amount of injuries possible, this is an opportunity for the sport of tennis, and parents/coaches, to promote and speak about the health benefits and lower risk of injuries for young tennis players, when compared to football. Tennis involves no physical contact and the chance of concussion is highly unlikely. Compared to many other sports, tennis has a multitude of benefits from health, fitness to cognition and learning; whereas, many other sports do have possible negatives with respect to injury rates.
With the introduction of 10 and under tennis, the balls are bounce lower, racquets are smaller (more appropriate to a young athlete’s size) and courts smaller. Whether you are for or against the new ITF and USTA rule changes, it’s pretty clear that tennis is a great sport for young athletes to gain athletic skills in a safer environment than other sports. Plus, you get to wear hats over helmets :)