Parents want their children to have every opportunity to chase after their interests and run with them. For parents of young athletes in the making, more goes into keeping their child equipped and game ready than they ever imagined.
According to WinterGreen Research, a market research firm, families spend about $15 billion on youth sports per year. The cost of having a young athlete includes equipment, time, tournament and team fees, uniforms, and grounds fees. One father, Rick Brow, in an interview with ABC News, claims to have spent over “$10,000 a year” on his son Ryan. “Everywhere you turn, it’s more money,” he said. It also cost Ryan plenty of time. The 14-year-old stated that he plays baseball “four hours a day, five days a week.”
One thing parents can look to for financial assistance is a future athletic scholarship for their son or daughter. Ryan’s mother Janine added, “It would be really nice if he would get a college scholarship to play baseball.” It is a bit of wishful thinking, however, as only 2 percent of high school student athletes receive college athletic scholarships of any size.
The one cost which affects parents indirectly, however, could have major implications for the future is an injury. Experts have warned of the danger to young children that are specializing in a sport can have on their bodies. Baseball players are particularly prone to these types of injuries due to the repetitive and unnatural throwing motion.
Los Angeles area orthopedic surgeon and Los Angeles Dodgers physician Dr. Neal ElAttrache explains, “Early specialization into one sport and year round participation…The chances of overuse injuries and sometimes worse types of injuries are higher.”
Ryan recently tore a ligament in his elbow which could be attributed to his rigorous baseball schedule. He can still hit but has to take time off to let the ligament heal before he can resume throwing.