Having mentored young people in sporting associations, including the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) when those young athletes are on respite and from his pastoral experiences over a life time, he's aware that teenagers do not always listen to their parents. In fact, new research shows that their brains are not 'adult' until they are about 24! (www.smh.com.au)
However, for parents today, help might be at hand. Perhaps the kids will listen to recent scientific studies that support parents' common sense.
Protecting children's precious ears
Mark Tronson is concerned that kids are protected from the heartbreak of deafness. His own father damaged his ears as a result of fireworks (a 'penny bunger') going off close to him when he was only ten; and his wife has had hearing problems from birth.
But today's teenagers are more likely to suffer loss of hearing from loud music at live venues or from their earphones, Danish researchers reported at a conference recently. (www.sciencedaily.com)
Without ear protection, "heavy metal" fans have 15 mins at a concert before they risk permanent hearing damage, report Australian scientists at the National Acoustics Laboratories who have been trialling some new filtered ear plugs which don't affect the quality of the music.
The teenagers quickly got used to using them, and relished waking up the morning after a gig without ringing in their ears. The earplugs are useful for professional musicians in classical orchestras, too. (smh.com.au)
Sugary drinks may damage teeth and hearts
Being involved in sports all his life, and now co-ordinating respite centres for athletes and coaches, Mark Tronson points to several scientific studies indicating that food and drink 'sports' supplements for kids are not necessary, will not improve performance, and may be downright harmful for growing bodies.
It is already known that a daily consumption of sugary soft-drinks is correlated with increased heart disease in adults, but Australian scientists now report that the beginnings of diseased arteries can be seen in children who drink sugary drinks every day. (www.smh.com.au)
Mark Tronson warns that some 'energy' drinks contain sugar; and should only be used in conjunction with supervised training and not as everyday refreshments.
Another study warns that some sports drinks can irreversibly damage teenagers' permanent teeth. (www.sciencedaily.com)
Sports supplements unnecessary for kids – and could do harm
In a recent Sydney Morning Herald article, Australian sports dieticians warned that long-term damage can be done to children who take proprietary supplements in an attempt to increase their body mass, muscle tone or stamina. These supplements are sometimes requested by parents who are over-anxious to see their kids succeed. (www.smh.com.au)
Mark Tronson marvels at the wonderful human body that The Lord has given us, which will adapt and change its energy requirements if trained for a particular sport in a particular way. He is reminded of 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 "Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body."
During training, endurance athletes can 'teach' their bodies to slowly use the fat stores already put down by correct nutrition in the weeks leading up to the sporting event. (www.marathonguide.com)
Other athletes are more proficient at fast-movement aerobic sports, and they need completely different diets and training regimes so their bodies learn to use short-term energy from glucose in the blood and glycogen in the muscles.
Sports Scientists and Nutritionists
Sports scientists and nutritionists understand more now about how an appropriate diet of healthy foods will be sufficient to help young athletes' muscles grow strong, and 'learn' to naturally use the resources so miraculously laid down for stressful situations such as we impose when we train for competitive sports. (www.ncga.coolrunning.com.au sections 9 and 10).
Mark Tronson advises young athletes to seek the advice of reputable dieticians and coaches about correct diet, training and sleep regimes to build optimal muscle and improve performance; and only take medication recommended by a trusted doctor if necessary for a medical condition.
This way, all children can reach their potential and enjoy their chosen sport. Supplements cannot help them do any better than this. As a minister of 35 years he is aware, that with the pressures upon his life and ministry, he needs to take time out to recharge and refresh and this is part of his medical advice.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html