Tags: school | bans | balls | recess

School Bans Balls at Recess In Effort to Keep Kids Safe

Wednesday, 09 Oct 2013 06:55 PM

By Ken Mandel

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Students at Weber Middle School can still have a ball during recess, just without balls.

The Port Washington, N.Y., school banned footballs, baseballs, soccer balls, lacrosse balls and any other hard balls that could hurt a child during recess, and also requires adult supervision during activities such as tag and cartwheels, citing safety reasons.

Students are permitted to use softer Nerf balls.

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"Some of these injuries can unintentionally become very serious so we want to make sure our children have fun, but are also protected," Dr. Kathleen Maloney, superintendent of Port Washington Schools, told CBS New York.

In a release, the school district said that construction at the school has reduced the amount of space available for children during a 20-minute recess period.

"With children in close proximity to each other, it is not safe for them to be engaged in unstructured play with hard balls," the district said, according to CNN. It was unclear if the ban would end with the construction.

The decision reflects a newly released study that linked blows to the head to health problems later in life. In the September report, researchers at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center said that the number of children brought to emergency rooms for sports-related head injuries has risen by more than 90 percent in the past decade, CBS News reported.

About 1.35 million emergency room visits are caused by sports injuries each year, which make up 20 percent of all injury-related emergency room visits for children and adolescents, according to Safe Kids Worldwide. The most common injuries are strains, sprains, fractures, bruises, and scrapes. Concussions make up 12 percent.

Studies aside, some parents were disappointed by the decision.

"This isn't smart. It's actually counter-productive," parent Donna Daniels wrote in an e-mail to CNN. "It saddens me to think that children no longer experience the joy of kickball, tag, dodgeball and simple outdoor games I remember so fondly when I reflect on my childhood. Our kids don't experience physical activity unless it involves downloading an app."

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