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Should tall teens play sports?

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"Is it true that teenagers who have grown very tall should not participate in hard sports?" That's the question of the day on this 1952 episode of CBC's Sports College. Host Alan Percival says it's a misconception that very tall teens have used up all of their "vitality" in the growth process, and therefore shouldn't be playing difficult sports. Percival says the opposite is true: sports can actually help these teens become less gangly and slow moving.
• For many sports, such as volleyball and basketball, being very tall can help your performance. In men's professional basketball, the shortest players are usually well over six feet tall.

• Although being unusually tall doesn't cause health problems in teens, it can be a sign of Marfan syndrome. This is a genetic disorder that affects the body's connective tissue, and often leads to cardiovascular and heart problems. People with Marfan syndrome are usually extremely tall and typically have disproportionately long limbs.

• A 2005 study showed that men who are tall as teenagers grow up to make more money on average. Published in the Journal of Political Economy, the study looked at men's heights at the ages of seven, 11, 16 and 33 and measured those against their current salaries. Results showed that the only age when height strongly affected later earning power was 16. 
Medium: Radio
Program: Sports College
Broadcast Date: Sept. 6, 1952
Host: Alan Percival
Duration: 1:14

Last updated: January 24, 2012

Page consulted on May 1, 2014

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