Is the extreme commitment to youth sports worth the expensive price tag?

Some parents report spending thousands of dollars on the sports careers of young athletes.
3:48 | 09/01/17

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Transcript for Is the extreme commitment to youth sports worth the expensive price tag?
Now to a "Gma" parenting alert from the big business of youth sports. With endless practices and tournaments taking over households the average American family spends thousands of dollars on kid athletes according to a survey in "Time" magazine. Is the love of the game worth the hefty price tag? ESPN's Jessica Mendoza in California for us with more. Good morning, Jess. Good morning, robin. You think about you and I, right. We played multiple sports growing up and kis are now being asked to specialize in one sport at a super young age in the hopes for that athletic scholarship or being able to play professionally. The competition is cut throat. The world of kids sports is now a booming billion dollar business where young kids are looking more like the pros. 14-year-old Ryan brown turns heads and hits big when he's at bat. He's been playing baseball since he was 4 years old. I play four hours, five days a week. If it weren't for baseball I had don't know what I'd be doing. Reporter: 10-year-old Melanie has been playing soccer since she was 5. She's on three different teams and practices every day for three hours. Her dream is to play for the women's national team. Ryan plays at school and on a weekend travel team costing his parents thousands of dollars. Oftentimes many years over 10,000 a year. Your tournament fees, your uniforms, it's everywhere you turn it's more money. Reporter: But this kind of financial commitment isn't uncommon for young elite athletes. For 9-year-old Riley Owens who dreams of the NBA, basketball game travel is so expensive his parents set up a go fund me account. The youth sports business is now a $15 billion market including travel to games, tournaments, private coaching, camps, even apps. But for some families by the time college comes there's not much money left. It would be really nice if he would get a college scholarship to play baseball. Reporter: But only 1% of high school graduates receive an athletic scholarship and recent studies show athletes who specialize in one sport are prone to injuries. Remember Ryan. This summer an injury has hindered his ability to throw the ball but he can still hit. He's torn the major stabilizing ligament in the elbow. Reporter: For elite athletes the pressure to perform can be overwhelming but for Ryan, despite his injury, he's undeterred and unstoppable. That a boy. I love baseball so much and I really wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. Guy, it's not so much that kids are playing sports at a young age it's that they're asked to be specialized in one sport. We're talking five, six, 7 years old and picking one sport when they should be climbing trees, playing tag, having fun, not thinking about the pros. There are so many benefits. There are so many benefits especially involved in team sports and I know not everybody is going to be a two-time olympian like you and kudos for you for that, Jessica, but are we kind of losing sight of the purpose of team sports when it comes to kids? Robin, if I had to pick one sport when I was their age I would pick the wrong sport. I would have picked basketball. For me I was the tallest kid when I was young and it's not even just the injuries and financial strain, it's that emotional psychological if you're going all in at a young age, the burnout comes so quick and for me I played all sports. I know you did too and my biggest thing is play as many sports and be that athletic kid instead of focusing in on one. Bowling champ when I was 12 years old, bowling champ at 12 years old. Thanks so much.

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