One-Sport Young Athletes Double Risk of Injury, Report Finds

Filed under: In The News, Research Reveals: Tweens

sports injuries

One sport? Double your chance of getting a sports related injury! Credit: Corbis

The days of being a well-rounded athlete are quickly becoming ancient history.

Today's young jocks are increasingly focusing on one sport -- playing it year round -- and, as a result, they're getting hurt more often.

A new study finds one-sport athletes are nearly twice as likely to be injured, compared with their multi-sport playing peers, HealthDay reports.

"We saw a pretty significant difference with this intensity of training, along with specialization," senior study author Dr. Neeru Jayanthi, medical director of primary care sports medicine at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, tells the news service.

Jayanthi and his team had previously looked at 519 junior tennis players and discovered the athletes who played tennis only were more likely to suffer injuries, HealthDay reports.

In the new study, presented May 2 at the annual American Medical Society for Sports Medicine meeting, the researchers examined 154 athletes, with an average age of 13, who played multiple sports and visited a clinic, according to the news service.

Of those 154 kids, 85 sought treatment for a sports-related injury, while the other 69 were simply getting physicals, HealthDay reports, noting that the injured kids played organized sports for 11 hours a week on average, while the kids who were not injured played fewer than 9 hours weekly.

"It's been accepted for the last five years or so that kids who are not super-specific do better. They're cross-trained, so they're conditioned for other movements," Dr. Kory Gill, an assistant professor at Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine, tells HealthDay.

Gill adds that kids younger than high school-age are particularly at risk of being injured if they play just one sport.

"I tell parents to let kids be kids and play multiple sports," he tells HealthDay. "See what they're good at and what they enjoy."

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.