Sports Injuries and Young Athletes

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 Dr. Neeru Jayanthi of Loyola Medicine defines sports specialization as intensive training in a single sport, year-round at the exclusion of all other sports. While some athletes feel that intensive training at a young age will put them at an advantange, Jayanthi says the reverse can actually occur.

“You actually make it harder on your body because when you have a kid who has adult-level skills but they have a developing body, they don’t absorb that stress the same way that an adult or a mature body would,” he says.

Jayanthi offers the following tips to reduce the risk of injuries in young adults:

  1. Don’t spend more hours per week than your age playing a particular sport. For example, if an athlete is 10 years old, he/she should not spend more than 10 hours a week playing his/her particular sport.
  2. Don’t spend more than twice as much time playing organized sports as you spend in gym and unorganized play.
  3. Don’t specialize in one particular sport before late adolescence.
  4. Don’t play sports competitively year round. Take a break from competition for one to three months each year (this does not have to be consecutively, however).
  5. Take at least one day off a week from training in sports.

To read more on Jayanthi’s findings, please visit the following link: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110502121741.htm

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