Million dollar baby? 5-year-old "Killer Bee" has been BOXING since she could crawl

Filed under: Health & Safety: Babies, Development/Milestones: Babies

The boxer known around Baltimore gyms as "Killer Bee" is Mia Ellis, a 5-year-old kindergartner who has been fighting boys aged 8 and 11, because those are the only opponents anything close to her weight class. Apparently there just aren't many boxers in the class of a 5-year-old who weighs in at 52 pounds and stands 3 feet and a few inches.

Mia's father, a boxing coach, used to rock her to sleep to the sights and sounds of the boxing matches he studied. He claims she was already punching the air when she was a few months old in her crib (okay, I know that sounds like wishful thinking, but how many times have I heard suburbanites say their unborn child was going to be a soccer player?). By the time she was a toddler, Mia was doing training exercises at home with her dad. Sit-ups and push-ups, jumping jacks and leg squats. When she was four she got her first headgear. I'm sure by the time she's ten she'll be a veteran fighter.

Does all this seem like too much, like the Indian kid who runs ultra-marathon distances? Some experts warn that kindergarten is too young to start training a child to play any sport, let alone one like boxing - which the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends against until age 18 because of potential brain injuries. Where is the line between encouraging kids to participate in sports for their positive values and damaging them? Or is our society being overprotective? Greg Dale, a professor of sports psychology and ethics at Duke University says that young children are more prone to physical injuries and mental burnout. "How much of this is really dad wanting them to do that or just wanting to be with dad?" he asks. I'm sure Tiger Woods' dad or the Williams sisters' parents would have a lot to say about that subject. But is a 5-year-old boxer taking things too far? 

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.