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~Thoughts for Thinking People~
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     Although Olympic athletes are portrayed as "national heroes" and poignant stories are detailed about their difficult lives, this may not be what our children should aspire to.

     Consider that most top-level athletes begin their careers as children or adolescents. It's not just a matter of who sacrifices the most and who works the hardest. Problems associated with high-level sport include delay in growth, a variety of musculoskeletal injuries, side effects of performance enhancing drugs and psychological damage. Many children become victims of parental ambitions, the demands of trainers and the totalitarian control of their sport organizations. Such training can indeed damage an adolescent's social life, psychosocial development and their physical health. Consider that young children are really unable to knowledgeably consent to rigorous training programs, time-consuming exercise and other abnormal life patterns, and thus their psychological development can become distorted.

     As I repeatedly mention in the e-Health Letter, anything in excess can be toxic. This applies to sport exercise and training as well. Regular exercise and the challenge of sport, mixed with a full social and vocational life, can indeed be healthy. But a singular emphasis on any one aspect of life, sacrificing all else for its sake, can be damaging and one would question the right of any parent or adult organization to force it on children.

Copyright 2002, Wysong Corporation. The Wysong e-Health Letter is an educational newsletter. Opinions expressed are meant to be taken for their argumentative/intellectual interest value, and not interpreted as specific medical or legal direction for individual conditions or situations. The e-Health Letter does not represent all-inclusive knowledge, nor can it affirm or deny facts or data gathered from cited references. Before initiating any health action or changing existing therapies, individuals should read the references cited in the e-Health Letter or request them from Wysong Corporation (, and seek and evaluate several alternative, competent viewpoints. The reader (not the Wysong e-Health Letter) must assume all responsibilities from the application of educational and often controversial information presented in the e-Health Letter.