Here at Change we are excited to share that we have collaborated with the STOP Sports Injuries Campaign, to learn more about what they have to say in regards to young athletes playing multiple sports and if it is beneficial. Injuries in youth athletes are all too common and they are here to spread awareness on how to STOP sports injuries. Here is what they had to say:
Playing Multiple Sports Can Benefit Young Athletes
Achieving long-term success in a sport often requires a great deal of time and effort from athletes – from training and conditioning to the practice field and games. The elite, professional athletes of all major sports are products of talent along with an impressive work ethic and focus on developing skills to translate to on-field success.
While a sport-specific focus can be crucial for an athlete to reach these heights, is this kind of specialization necessary for our youngest athletes? Common dialogue on the issue often favors a cautious approach – encouraging the youngest of athletes to try out different sports, take periodic rest throughout the year and focus on enjoying the games.
Despite this, the debate still remains of whether or not sports specialization is appropriate in childhood to help an athlete’s chances of high-level play in the future, or at least an appropriate age for this this kind of approach. The question becomes, is an intense focus on one sport ever really beneficial for a young athlete?
Research published in Sports Health: A Multidisciplinary Approach – led by author Neeru Jayanthi, MD, from Loyola University Medical Center in Chicago – helps organize the current literature on the issue of youth sports specialization, developing a fairly clear picture that delaying an intense focus on one sport is best served for later in an athlete’s development.
It is important to continue these discussions on making the best sports experience for young athletes. Keeping kids active and healthy can (and should) begin with sports, but pushing them too far often does more harm than good.
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Dr. Jayanthi’s research can be viewed at http://sph.sagepub.com/content/5/3/251.abstract. To learn more about overuse injuries in youth sports, please visit http://www.stopsportsinjuries.org/overuse-injury.aspx.
STOP SPORTS INJURIES
STOP Sports Injuries provides overuse and traumatic injury prevention tips to athletes, parents and coaches. Learn more about safe sports participation at www.STOPSportsInjuries.org, or follow them on Twitter @SportsSafety.