Our 10-year-old son Adam is allergic to peanuts and tree nuts. About a year ago, our family moved to Georgia, where peanuts are a much bigger part of the culture than where we used to live. My son loves playing baseball, but here they serve nuts at all the local ballfields, and there are shells all over the place. My husband used to coach and could make sure Adam was safe, but he isn’t able to do that anymore because of his work schedule. I’ve been thinking about suggesting a nut-free policy, but I don’t want people to dislike me or, worse, dislike my son because they think I’m a complainer. What do you suggest? Should I just not say anything, not let Adam play ball or …. ?
Thanks for reaching out and bringing awareness to this issue. Peanuts are actually the state crop for Georgia, so I can imagine that there’s no shortage of peanuts at local ballfields. That doesn’t mean this is a lost cause, though. Have you asked Adam what he wants you to do? It may be a non-issue (for your family, anyway) if he isn’t motivated to play baseball anymore. However, if Adam does want to play, then I think approaching the coaches and the ballfield staff would be a worthy cause with value that extends well beyond your family.
If the coach, team and ballpark staff are receptive, they could adopt a nut-free policy. Stadiums are already making these accommodations for fans, so it shouldn’t be a stretch for local ballparks to accommodate the players in the same manner. You may be actually find there are other kids with nut and peanut allergies on the team who are already receiving accommodations—or who could use and would appreciate them. The coaches and parents may have no issue making snacks nut-free and ensuring peanuts and tree nuts are not brought into the dugouts.
If you’re successful, you’ll not only have saved Adam’s baseball years, but perhaps opened the door for other kids with food allergies to play as well.
Thanks for asking!
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Kwynn is currently pursuing a PhD in Social Work at the University of Utah. She comes from a public health background, having earned both a Master of Public Health degree with a focus on community health and a Graduate Certificate in Lifestyle Health.
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