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Youth sports fraught with risks

A five-day series by The Columbus Dispatch explored the dangers of youth sports. "Little Leagues, Big Costs" found that youth sports are fraught with dangers because they lack uniform standards and oversight. Children are more susceptible than ever to injury, families spend thousands of dollars chasing elusive scholarships, and adults sometimes mar the experience with unruly and even criminal behavior. The current landscape of youth sports in the U.S. - year-round play, specialization and travel - is pocked with physical, emotional and financial minefields for the estimated 40 million young athletes and their families. The series by Todd Jones, Jill Riepenhoff and Mike Wagner prompted Gov. Ted Strickland, Ohio State Athletics Director Gene Smith, and leaders of the Ohio High School Athletic Association to call for reforms.

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