Guest Author - Vance R. Rowe
Backyard Wrestling – A Real Danger for Our Youth
Backyard wrestling is a real threat to the safety and well-being of our children and we as parents need to make a stand to try and stop it.
It got its start back in the mid 1980’s and by the mid to late 1990’s, it spread like wildfire. Then at the early part of the new millennium, it began to die out. Backyard wrestling is still around but it is not as prevalent as it was in the 1990’s.
Children as young as seven years old are in their backyards emulating their wrestling superstar heroes. Heroes like Mick Foley, Tommy Dreamer, the Sandman, Raven and any other wrestler who uses weapons to injure their opponents and themselves.
Now, not all backyard wrestling is weapons but approximately more than ninety percent of it is and the weapons get more and more dangerous.
I personally have seen everything from fluorescent light tubes, steel chairs to weed whips being used. One kid actually started a weed whip up and attacked another kid with it on his stomach. His stomach was pretty well chewed up and he has a lot of permanent scars today because of it. They are jumping off the roofs garages and houses onto “opponents” who are “knocked out” and laying on makeshift tables that break as soon as they land on them.
It’s not just the weapons that make backyard wrestling dangerous. It is kids that are copying the wrestling moves of their heroes that are the most dangerous part of backyard wrestling. They are performing the moves of their professional counterparts and are not trained to do these dangerous stunts. Stunts are just what they are too and the professional counterparts are even being hurt, paralyzed and killed from performing the stunts. Professional wrestlers have received concussions, broken necks, torn muscles and dislocated bones because of moves going awry and our children are performing these moves.
The WWE, World Wrestling Entertainment, says that almost fifteen percent of their viewers are ages 11 and under and that comes out to about one million children, which a third of that estimate is girls.
In a couple of well publicized cases, a seven year old boy killed his three year old brother when he punched him in the neck and in 1999; a ten year old boy received a broken neck for copying a wrestling move. He had to have two major surgeries, missed most of the fourth grade and had to wear a head stabilizing apparatus for several months. Today his range of motion is not very good and he is one of the lucky ones.
Kids at these ages do not realize that the wrestling moves they are copying are very well choreographed by professional wrestlers and that when they punch their opponents; they are not really hitting them. When kids see wrestlers grimace or scream out in pain, they do not know that the wrestler is doing something called “selling” the move to make it look like he is hurt or injured.
A way to help curb this is that parents need to sit down with their children when they watch wrestling and explain to them what is going on and that the wrestlers are not really enemies and that they do not really hate each other.
Parents also need to tell their kids not to perform in backyard wrestling events and to let them know that it’s not cool to do it, let them know that it’s stupid and it’s dangerous.