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Op-Ed: Let Kids Play Youth Sports

The following op-ed is written by Jesse Brewer, a Boone County Commissioner

It seems more and more things are being taken away from our kids due to the COVID pandemic. 

First it was their school, switching them from in-person to online, then it was their summer camps, and now youth sports are under attack as we speak.  

In Northern Kentucky, the NKYFL (Northern Kentucky Youth Football League) cancelled it is 2020 season, and many more around the state are following suit. 

I’m not trying to downplay the pandemic and whether it has long term effects or not; however, I do know that if we keep putting our kids' mental health in jeopardy that the long term effects on them could be damaging. 

Youth sports plays a big role in a child’s development and overall foundation into becoming an adult. It teaches them teamwork, how to overcome adversity and builds self-confidence. Studies show that kids that engage in youth sports are more likely to succeed in school, go to college, go on to become business and/or political leaders and are more likely to contribute back to their community through social and charitable programs.  

Additionally, studies also show that kids who do not engage in youth sports are more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol, have discipline problems in school, skip classes and enjoy less success as an adult.  

Now I understand that this is not every kid and these studies were conducted over multiple years’ time on national platforms; however, I think we can all agree that allowing kids to engage in youth sports far outweighs the benefits of them not participating.  

Without being able to play sports, our kids are left with minimal options to occupy their time, many of which are counter-productive in their development.  

Many kids will spend a lot of their downtime that would have been utilized in playing sports, online playing video games. Studies show that kids that play too many video games during their developmental years are more likely to show signs of depression, lack of interest within personal activities, and are at a disadvantage with in-person social skills.  

All things that we do not want for our children. 

Our children need to be back in school and be able to play their sports. 

Their mental health is at stake and each day that goes by that they are restricted from participation is a day that may make it harder for them to want to go back when that time comes. At this point, many parents understand the risks involved with the virus and it is time for the parents to be allowed to make the decisions for their children, and not a bureaucratic executive mandate that is based on data that may not be 100% reliable.  

It is time to consider the long-term mental health effects on our kids and lift these restrictions that are prohibiting them from playing the games that teach them so much that they love. 

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