Overuse Injuries May Rise When Kids Specialize in One Sport | Healthfinder.gov
Children and teens who spend twice as much time playing organized sports -- especially a single sport -- than they do in free play are more likely to be injured, according to new research.
"These injuries are purely from the amount of exposure without sufficient rest periods," said lead study author Dr. Neeru Jayanthi. "They're performing at adult levels in a child's body -- in a young, developing body. The constant use of the same parts of the body puts the same stress on the same part of the body over and over again.
"We looked at how much organized sports kids were playing compared to how much they played for fun," added Jayanthi, medical director of primary-care sports medicine at Loyola University Health System, in Chicago. "When that ratio got above 1.9 to 1 [favoring organized sports], the risk of injury went up."
The study included more than 1,200 children between the ages of 8 and 18. Slightly more than half were boys, and about two-thirds of the group had sustained an injury.
The injured athletes were slightly older, with an average age of 14 years compared to 12.9 years for the non-injured athletes, and they spent more time in sports activities.
Research presented at medical meetings should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.