by Megan McDaniel
On Wednesday the NFL officially acknowledged that CTE, or chronic traumatic encephalopathy, can be caused by contact sports and that a large number of current and former athletes suffer from the disease. CTE is a degenerative brain disease which has been associated with depression, dementia, and memory loss. CTE is caused by repetitive head trauma, such as that experienced by football players.
For parents, the discovery of CTE can be disconcerting. After all, football is America’s favorite past time. However, with the known instances of CTE increasing among athletes participating in contact sports such as football, wrestling, and soccer, many parents are looking for non contact sports for their children. One sport which is not only non-contact but that has many other benefits for children is swimming. Besides being a non-contact sport swimming offers many benefits such as the following:
Swimming is a low impact sport. Because the buoyancy of the water counteracts the effects of gravity, swimming is a low impact sport and puts little stress on bones and joints. This can be important for little ones whose bones are still growing and developing.
Swimming is a great aerobic activity. In just 10 minutes of swimming you can burn up to 150 calories, whereas running a 10 minute mile only burns 100 calories. Swimming is also great for asthma sufferers. Breathing the moist air while swimming can prevent asthma symptoms and can improve overall lung health. Swimming also helps muscle development.
Swimming can make you smarter. An Australian research study concluded that children who participated in formal swim lessons developed quicker in language development, fine motor skills, physical development, and confidence faster than children who did not participate in swim lessons.
Swim lessons reduce the risk of drowning. According to the Center for Disease Control, in the U.S. an average of 10 people die every day from drowning. However, participating in formal swim lessons can reduce children’s risk of drowning by 88%. What other sport can save your child’s life?
Although the full extent of the effects and those who suffer from CTE have yet to be discovered, many future and current parents have vowed to take steps to protect their children. Swimming offers those parents not only a way to prevent CTE, but a way to offer unlimited benefits to their children through sports.