Earlier this week, I was talking to my best friend about her six year old son. We were catching up about all the usual stuff...June craziness, school, and sports. She was telling me how her little guy had just formally started baseball and was playing both pitcher and catcher (two older brothers can give you a big head start).
She was frustrated that the coaches were requiring such a high number of throws from such young kids. As a member of the travel team, her son was also required to play on the rec team as well. "What?" I said, "that's craziness for kindergarten kids."
But we all know this is the norm across all youth sports these days, and it reminded of a powerful article I read a few years ago about the dramatic increase in overuse injuries in our young athletes.
Dr. James Andrews, world renowned surgeon to some of our favorite sports stars, (i.e., Michael Jordan, Drew Brees, Roger Clemens, Bo Jackson, Peyton Manning and SO many more) has identified the following two reasons why we're seeing such a spike in youth injuries:
"Specialization leads to playing the sport year-round. That means not only an increase in risk factors for traumatic injuries but a sky-high increase in overuse injuries. Almost half of sports injuries in adolescents stem from overuse."
"Professionalism is taking these kids at a young age and trying to work them as if they are pro athletes, in terms of training and year-round activity... A lot of these kids don't have the ability to withstand that type of training and that type of parental/coach pressure."
"I want parents and coaches to understand the implications of putting a 12-year-old through the type of athletic work done by a 25-year-old."~ Dr. James Andrews
So, you may be wondering, "What can we do about this?"
1) Click here to read the full article with Dr. Andrew's best advice
2) Ask Dr Mayes - If this article leaves you with more questions, click here to ask Dr. Mayes anything else that's on your mind. As the owner of Iron Physical Therapy, he's happy to provide additional guidance and insight so your student athletes stay healthy all year long.
Get Better. Be Better ,
Iron Physical Therapy
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