Telegraph to host forum Thursday on youth sports injuries

Tough it out.

Shake it off.

You’ll be fine.

Parents and coaches have been telling young athletes things like that for ages. Many of us have uttered these exact phrases to our own kids.

But an increase in the number of youth athletic injuries, especially a dramatic spike in the number of concussions, has the medical community urging us to reconsider some of those time-honored phrases.

As part of The Telegraph’s ongoing commitment to highlight issues of importance to the community and create a dialogue where solutions can be explored, we have been publishing “Broken Athletes,” a six-day series examining youth sports injuries.

Already we’ve heard from parents who are concerned about their children playing contact sports, and we’ve heard from parents who don’t believe all the hype about concussions.

We’ve heard from people like Laura Decoster, who co-authored a national report urging young athletes to avoid competing in a single sport year-round. She stresses making sports fun and making sure young athletes aren’t overusing their bodies in the name of competition.

We learned about Mandy Rogers, a Nashua High School North graduate, who went on to play lacrosse at Boston University. Her athletic career ended abruptly after suffering a concussion. Now she wants to dedicate herself to a profession in athletic training.

Dr. Chris Couture acknowledges sports and exercise is a huge part of our society. He wants young people to play, but to do so safely.

And Dr. James Vailis urges young athletes not to rush their recovery and face future medical problems down the road.

All four will be present Thursday when The Telegraph hosts a public forum at 7 p.m. at Nashua High School North. They will be joined by Nashua School District athletic director Tom Arria and Nashua athletic trainer Jerry Holland.

This panel of experts will discuss the increase in sports injuries and what can be done about it. We invite you to come and join the discussion.

But before we agree to lock up our kids to keep them from going from the sports field to a hospital bed, let’s remember sports, athletics and exercise are good.

As more young people are battling obesity, telling kids to sit on the couch to avoid injury isn’t the answer.

And let’s not forget the hopes and aspirations of school-age athletes who want to try their hardest to make it to the Little League World Series, or play a sport with such dedication they have a shot to continue in college, perhaps even the pros.

Those goals should be fostered, but with the right guidance from coaches and parents.

Perhaps, it’s simply using a few different phrases with our children.

Sit out for a while.

Take it easy.

Let’s make sure you are OK.