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Are Multi-Sport Youth Athletes Less Prone to Overuse Injuries? | Hartford HealthCare

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December 06, 2022

As talented youth athletes (and their parents and coaches) chase dreams of professional stardom, many will encounter injuries along the road – often from overuse.&#13
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The statistics tell the story:&#13

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  • More than half of the 7 million sports and recreation-related injuries that occur each year are sustained by youth under 24.
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  • High school athletes experience an estimated 2 million injuries, 500,000 doctor visits and 30,000 hospitalizations each year.
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Orthopedic surgeon Rowland B. Mayor, MD, adult and pediatric sports medicine specialist with Hartford HealthCare’s Bone & Joint Institute, notes that sprains, strains and breaks are going to happen to athletes, regardless of which sport they play. Accidents happen.

But injuries caused by overuse, most typically to the shoulder, elbow or knee, is often the result of early specialization – a singular focus on one sport with year-round training from an increasingly earlier age.

> Connect with the Bone & Joint Institute at Hartford Clinic

Verified by exploration

According to investigate from the Countrywide Council of Youth Sporting activities, sports activities specialization does certainly guide to bigger injuries rates – notably overuse accidents. 1 review showed a hyperlink between overuse injuries and 3 risk things:

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  • A “superior” level of athletics specialization
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  • Playing a one activity a lot more than eight months of the 12 months
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  • Actively playing a one activity for more hrs for each week than their age
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A overview paper checking out pediatric overuse accidents describes how specialization may well guide to overuse injuries during the physique of a increasing little one, which includes the shoulders, elbows, small again, hips, knees, and ft.

Popular culprits

Widespread overuse accidents in younger athletes consist of:

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  • Baseball (significantly with shoulder and elbow injuries joined to pitching).
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  • Basketball (jumper’s knee).
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  • Gymnastics (again, elbow and ankle accidents).
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  • Operating (plantar fasciitis and knee accidents).
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  • Soccer (knee and ankle injuries).
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  • Tennis (elbow accidents).
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  • Volleyball (jumper’s knee).
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Escalating little ones are primarily at threat.

Activity specialization can also hurt a child’s advancement plates, Mayor states. Growth plate accidents are accidents to new bone tissue at the ends of a kid’s bones that can affect how they grow.

“These are delicate spots,” he claims. “They can be vulnerable to injuries – they can fragment or grow abnormally.”

Recovering, mentally and bodily

Young children who enjoy diverse sports “are giving their bodies time to recuperate, since distinct sports use distinctive physique elements,” Mayor says. And on leading of prospective bodily problems, “there is also mental well being. A one-sport athlete is much more prone to burnout, tiredness, or quitting.”

Even experienced athletes have an off-year, Mayor states, giving their bodies time to get better and repair service.

“It’s appealing that our skilled athletes get an off-year but so many assume teenagers to play year-round. They will need downtime to recuperate mentally and physically.”