Study recommends selecting non-contact forms of martial arts for kids that provide health benefits, but have lower risks of serious injury.
Different forms of martial arts like taekwondo, judo, kung fu and karate offer a unique way to improve a person’s physical fitness, confidence and agility. But these activities also carry the risk for serious injuries.
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The latest report from American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) encourages kids to participate in martial arts, but without risking their health. The safer participation of kids can be ensured by selecting non-contact forms of martial arts.
Martial arts usually has four major categories: striking, wrestling, grappling and weapon-based martial art and as their names suggest theses disciplines are focused on different skills and mindsets. Thus, some disciplines are considered riskier than others and have increased changes of injuries.
“There are so many different types of martial arts for families to consider and enjoy, but such a difference in injury risk between the different non-contact and sparring forms.” Report author Dr. Chris Koutures, who is a member of the AAP Executive Committee on Sports Medicine and Fitness said.
Martial arts participation causes a wide range of injuries and these injuries can vary from mild to severe, depending on the type of martial art. The most common injuries are sprains, strains, cuts and bruises. But more severe injuries like concussion, spine damage, arterial ruptures or other head and neck injury can also occur due to risky moves. According to data from a government agency, every year thousands of people visit hospital emergency rooms due to injuries related to martial arts.
Report author recommend delaying martial arts competition and contact-based training until children show adequate physical and emotional maturity. Still, proper instructor supervision and appropriate training is necessary for every child participating in martial arts activity.
Mixed martial art apparently has the higher chances of injury because of the frequent blows to head, face, nose and mouth. Therefore, youth and kids participation in the form of martial arts should be discouraged.
The report also recommends eliminating the rule of taekwondo that rewards extra points for kicks to the head. This practice could increase the risk of head injury.
Researchers believe that their report will enhance the knowledge of parents interested the activity and help them select the martial arts form that seems to be best suited for their children.
Dr. Chris Koutures says. “We hope that this report will enable pediatricians to help families select the most appropriate options for their child and realize how strongly certain practices and rules can impact a participant's safety.”