If your child has ADHD, should you let him/her participate in team sports like ice hockey or football? There is a study proving that these children can benefit from these sports more than from individual sports.
According to the study published by the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, children with ADHD were twice as likely to participate in team sports as in individual sports and their engagement in sports like football and lacrosse was 140% higher. The study analyzed the behavioral patterns of 850 athletes who played different sports at the University. 6% of them were diagnosed with ADHD, which is the percentage of ADHD in students.
The Risks of Team Sports
The results surprised the researchers who expected children with ADHD to prefer individual sports that allow them to have full control over the situation, such as golf. They thought so because individual sports don’t require worrying about other teammates and roles of each member in a team. When athletes with ADHD chose team sports over individual sports, researchers kept track of injuries and didn’t find any link between participating with ADHD and injuries.
However, children with ADHD are at higher risk for injury when participating in contact sports. They can also have increased impulsivity, which can result in an injury. Anyway, playing team sports is beneficial for children with ADHD. It can mitigate the symptoms of the disease and help them find structure in their life. Even though they can get injured, researchers still encourage parents to let their children try different types of sports.
The researchers say that different types of sports attract people with different personalities. It doesn’t matter whether a child has ADHD or not, personality characteristics influence the willingness to participate. For example, football attracts different people compared to tennis or high board. Sports choice is related to the willingness to take risks, and one of the common characteristics of patients with ADHD is the risk-taking attitude. Researchers think that it is the main reason why they are drawn to ice hockey and other risky team sports.
Benefits of Being Physically Active For Children with ADHD
Physical activity is helpful for children with ADHD. Researchers say that children who exercise often increase their cognitive performance. Active sports also help children with ADHD spend their energy on something positive. They also teach them how to be a member of a team and function together as well as improve their discipline and increase motivation. Sports help with symptoms like inattention and hyperactivity.
For children with ADHD, the advantages of participating in sports – even those that could lead to injuries – overweight the risks of getting hurt. Competing in sports also helps them fight stress and frustration. Some children with ADHD can’t focus on work in a classroom but can show incredible results playing sports. They will participate in an activity where they get positive results, which is also helpful.
If you have a child with ADHD and thinking about him/her participating in sports, you should start by finding the right sport. It is important to try different ones and choose the one that the child loves the most and keeps him/her engaged. And most of the children with ADHD won’t enjoy the sport that requires patience.
What do you think about team sports for children with ADHD? Are they too dangerous for them to participate even though benefits are huge? Share your opinion in the comment section!