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Health officials discuss risk of youth sports

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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) - Parents and guardians who have child-athletes are now asking whether or not it is safe for their kids to continue playing a sports team.

Dr. David Soma, a Pediatric Sports Medicine professional for Mayo Clinic Health System, said each sport poses its own health risk.

Soma said high-contact sports like wrestling, basketball, hockey, and football are high-risk sports because they require athletes to be in close contact with each other as they often share equipment. He recommends sports equipment to be wiped down as necessary.

"It is important for us to be mindful of the fact that kids benefit from participation both in school and in sports. Those benefits include socially, emotionally, and physically," Soma said. "There isn't a simple answer. I can't answer for all child athletes. The best decisions are made through remarks from parents, leaders involving sports, schools, medical professionals, and others to make this decision as a group."

Soma recommends student-athletes wear a mask and avoid high-fives when playing sports. He also made note that parents who have children with high health risks like obesity, lung disease, or sickle-cell disease, to make a list of pros and cons to see if playing sports is worth the risk.

Soma said low-risk sports are golf, tennis, cross country, and track.

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