Preventing Sports Injuries

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Physicians have seen a huge increase in “overuse injuries” among young people over the past decade, due in part to more specialization, as well as large workout loads among talented young athletes. These injuries include knee, shoulder, and stress fracture injuries. The majority of overuse injuries are relatively minor and generally heal with rest and physical therapy, however, athletes that push themselves for perfection and extreme performances are at risk for life long injuries. As well as practicing a variety of sports to develop numerous skills, young athletes need to make sure they understand the importance of cardiac health, nutrition, growth, and psychosocial development. Children that start playing sports should be exposed to a variety of sports, rather than just focus on one throughout their whole lives. Those athletes who spend their youth only spending time on one activity aren’t allowed the same advantages as those who play a variety of sports, with one of those benefits being the development of a wide range of skills. The lack of these developments are factors of the physical, psychologic, and physiologic demands that come with intense competition and training. With that being said, it is apparent that such high-intensity training and specialization post a potential risk to young athletes. An important person to involve in a child’s life from the start of these activities is their pediatrician, who can recognize these risks, and help monitor the health of the athlete in an attempt to reduce the risks associated with high levels of intensity. It has appeared over the last decade that the number of children who specialize in a sport from a very young age train year-round, and compete at an “elite” level. With the media coverage of events such as gymnastics, tennis, swimming, diving, and figure skating, these competitors are obviously very talented,

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