[Source: Medical XPress.com]
Competitive young athletes are under increasing pressure to play only one sport year round, but such specialization could increase the risk of injuries, a Loyola University Health System study has found.
Preliminary findings of the ongoing study included 154 athletes from all types of sports, with an average age of 13. They came to Loyola for sports physicals or treatment of injuries. The injured athletes had a significantly higher average score on a sports specialization scale than athletes who weren’t injured.
“Young athletes who were injured tended to have more intense specialized training in one sport,” said Dr. Neeru Jayanthi, medical director of primary care sports medicine at Loyola and senior author of the study. “We should be cautious about intense specialization in one sport before and during adolescence. Parents should consider enrolling their children in multiple sports.”
Jayanthi presented the findings May 2 at the annual meeting of the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine in Salt Lake City.
The current study is a follow up to an earlier study of 519 junior tennis players, in which Jayanthi and colleagues found that players who specialized in tennis were more likely to be injured during tournaments than players who participated in multiple sports.