Our children are increasingly obese, the sad byproduct of cheap carbohydrates and a sedentary lifestyle. Returning physical education to budget-strapped public schools is one of key efforts in the drive to combat the problem.
But according to this article, that effort is fraught with issues — including a 150% increase in gym class injuries from 1997-2007:
The study, based on hospital reports of phys ed injuries, was released Monday and appears in the September edition of Pediatrics. It suggests schools should renew their efforts to make gym class safer, said Cheryl Richardson of the National Association for Sport and Physical Education in Reston, Va.
Richardson noted some school districts don’t require teachers to be certified to teach phys ed, particularly at the elementary school level.
“Classroom teachers who aren’t trained in P.E. might not recognize situations that can cause injury,” Richardson said. Certified physical education teachers know where to position themselves, the amount of space children need around them for activities and proper warmup exercises.
Ordinarily this is where I make a snarky joke about the study or its findings or the article itself, but not today. Why? Because there once was a little blond boy who loved gym class more than anything. Then one day he was climbing the knotted rope when an errant kickball hit him in the head. He didn’t fall off the rope, but he was so scared he shit his gym shorts — which were wrapped so tight around his oversized legs that the shit tumbled out of them and fell all the way to the floor below.
The other children screamed and laughed, and the little blond boy with the shit-stained shorts clung to the rope crying and wishing he were somewhere — anywhere! — else. Then one of the other children threw a tennis ball at him and his hands slipped, causing him to slide back down the rope upside down, his knees crashing against the knots as gravity yanked him down to the floor — into the very pile of shit he had inadvertently deposited moments before.
For the rest of the year, the other children called him “Dookie” and rode their bikes past his house and threw tennis balls on his lawn and shouted insults at him.
Things got so bad for the little blond boy that the principal of the school had to hold an assembly where the traveling cast of Free to Be You and Me told the children it was mean to make fun of others. When one of the cast members asked the students if they’d ever been the butt of a joke, a student in the back shouted “NO BUT DOOKIE HAS A JOKE FOR A BUTT!!” The little blond boy sunk down in his seat and cried softly to himself for the rest of the hour.
Do you know who that little boy was?
Seriously — do you know? Because that shit was funny as hell and I’d love to post “Hey Dookie! WANT TO CLIMB SOME ROPES??!!!” on his Facebook page.
Study finds 150 percent rise in student injuries in gym class over 11 years [Newser]