When we talk about repetitive motion injuries in the young athlete they are more often linked to sport specialization. These days more kids are specializing in one sport at a younger age. Club teams, year around training and extended seasons can take a toll. The days of the three sport athlete are becoming less common. When kids play three sports throughout the year they tend to use different muscle groups and create better body balance.
A study performed by the University of Wisconsin Department of Orthopedics and Rehabilitation in 2016 showed that 23 percent of multi-sport athletes suffered an injury compared to 49 percent of athletes who specialized. These findings are significant and are impacting the youth level. More young athletes are dealing with stress fractures, growth plate injuries and cartilage injuries. The American Academy of Pediatrics released a report in 2016 that recommends there be no sports specialization before the age of 15 or 16. These recommendations are important to understand and a little common sense goes a long way.
As parents, we need to help our young athletes navigate the many issues that arise from playing sports. The experiences and friendships that the kids develop are an important aspect of growing up. Many things can be done to decrease the risk of repetitive motion injuries and I have listed them for you.
- Before any sports season, have a physical examination and address any issues present
- Always warm up and cool down with appropriate stretching exercises
- Wear the proper clothing and equipment for your sport, including safety gear
- Make sure equipment fits properly and is used correctly
- Drink water before, during and after your workouts
- Vary your day-to-day activities, rather than doing the same activity everyday
- If you are experiencing symptoms such as pain, swelling, numbness or stiffness, stop and seek chiropractic attention
The articles referenced are listed below: