The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Christina L. Master, MD, was recently interviewed on Fox 29’s Good Day Philadelphia during a segment about sports injuries and concussion. In part a report about the recently released documentary film Head Games: The Global Concussion Crisis, Dr. Master discussed the appropriate age for children to begin playing contact sports and helmets, among other topics.
After being asked when it was safe for kids to being playing contact sports like hockey and football, Dr. Master said “we do think that contact sports ought to be held off until they’re older … probably into the middle school, the teenage years.”
Indeed, citing USA Hockey’s example, Dr. Master noted experts urge younger children to focus on fundamental skills, and not participate in contact skills like checking in hockey or heading soccer balls. As part of its Progressive Checking Skill Development Program, USA Hockey recommends that legal body checking not begin until age 13 or 14.
When asked if improved helmets might reduce concussions, Dr. Master pointed out that “when you think about the fact that a concussion is your brain shaking in your skull, there’s really no way a helmet with protect 100 percent against that.”
And when asked what advice Dr. Master might have for parents, she said, “I think it’s important to, as a parent, choose a situation that’s conducive to learning fundamental skills … the idea is to learn the skills, have fun, be fit,” she added.
For more, see the full interview below!