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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — CrossFit keeps growing in popularity. There are dozens of gyms in the metro, but did you also know it’s now a rising trend for kids and teens? One metro school requires CrossFit for middle schoolers. But, is it safe for children?

Kyle McDonald is a regular in the school gym now. But, it didn’t used to be that way.

“In middle school when I started doing it I came in and I could do nothing. I couldn’t do a single sit up, I couldn’t do a push up. I couldn’t do anything,” said the recent high school graduate.

At 16 Kyle got serious about CrossFit with his school PE teacher Dana Davenport. In the past year and a half Kyle’s managed to lose more than 85 pounds, but said he’s gained a lot more.

“Along with losing weight it helped me have confidence. It helped me. I learned how to talk to people better, I learned how to listen and focus better,” he said.

Davenport teaches CrossFit for kids as young as 12 at a local school, the Kansas City Academy in Waldo.

“CrossFit for kids is just like CrossFit for adults, again, but we are just changing the jargon you change depending on the age group, different functional moves,” said Davenport.

Since CrossFit went mainstream the grueling workouts have been controversial.

“It is intense, ya. And, it’s not for everyone,” he said.

So, is it safe for kids? We asked University of Kansas Hospital Pediatric Sports Medicine Dr. Randall Goldstein, DO.

“I think if the right person is teaching the class and they know some key things I think that it can be safe,” said Dr. Goldstein.

He said there are some questions every parent should ask.

“Check the instructor and check the business and make sure they understand that pediatrics and adolescents are different than adults.”

Dr. Goldstein said any age child can do the workouts. It all depends on their physical and emotional maturity.

“If the instructor is good and understands children and growth plates and growing muscles, along with high reps and low weight that CrossFit can be a safe option for their strength and conditioning.”

Davenport said kids can benefit from learning how to work out the right way at a young age. He said his students, like Kyle, are proof that it works.

“It’s saved my life. I really think it did. I am in such a better place now than I was two or three years ago,” said McDonald.