It's an epidemic affecting kindergarteners and parents are to blame. It's called "redshirting."
Kids are purposefully held back in school giving them a competitive advantage in sports. But this growing trend can be detrimental for students.
Pint-sized players suit up and make plays, each dreaming, one day an NFL career could be in their future.
Today's parents have a choice when it comes to enrolling kids in kindergarten and more and more of them are deciding to hold back their baby by one year, ensuring he or she will be bigger, taller and stronger than their peers when it comes to sports.
"My brother Ryan was the youngest of four boys," says Jay Feely, the placekicker for the Arizona Cardinals. "He was a lot smaller, dramatically smaller than those in his class at 5 years old."
Feely comes from a family with strong, successful sports background. But, he says his parents did not hold back Ryan specifically to make him a better athlete. In fact, since he was so small, they held him back so he would have time to develop and be the same size as his classmates. Turns out, the Feely's scored with the decision to redshirt Ryan.
"He ended up being a two time All-American in college, so it was good," says big brother Jay.
But, if you're not careful, redshirting your 5-year-old to give him or her that competitive advantage in sports could have a lasting and negative impact.
"They become very accomplished or very used to participating in sports and excelling in sports. Eventually, everyone catches up," says Dana Vela, President of Sunrise Preschools in the Valley. "It could be very frustrating for athletes who have been really accustomed to being at a physical advantage."
Surprisingly, though, redshirting can also be recommended for some kids. But, how do you know what's good for your child? Vela says consider these four factors: Socially, emotionally, academically and physically.
"Oftentimes, children's learning is deeply affected when they're not ready to be away from the home, when they don't have the self-confidence," she explains.
"Sports shouldn't be the driving factor in your decision for the kids," says Jay.
That's because it's not just a student's size and athletic ability that assures you'll be successful. It's also important to work hard if you want to be successful at the NFL level.
"I was never the best athlete or the top recruit. But, I have a great work ethic and that's more than anything what got me to this level," says Jay.
That's something you can't force because it comes from within.
Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Latest Sports Headlines
Skype, call, watch "DAWGS on the run." It all begins Monday at 7 a.m. Open your newsnet5.com app to watch the mobilecast and interact with Andy Baskin and Mike Cairns.
The Glenville Tarblooders were looking to make history on Friday night as the first Cleveland city school to win a state championship in football.