Attention Parents....Is It Really Worth It To You?
Young athletes today are very self-driven to become better, but let’s face it, some parents are also pushing their kids to perform too hard, too much and too fast. The parents could have been athletes themselves who failed and are now living vicariously through their kids to be the best they can be at that sport. Talking to some young athletes, they practice for 2 sometimes 4-6 hours a day for one sport. Whether it is swimming, running on track, soccer or playing baseball, these kids are performing hours at a time with one repetitive movement pattern designed for their particular sport.
Our bodies were not meant to perform one type of sport for especially the time frame that most of these athletes are putting in. Within a given year kids used to play a variety of sports allowing their bodies more diversity and not over use one set muscle groups to over dominate. The specialization of one particular sport or movement pattern has dramatically increased the usage of a particular sets of movements. Therefore these young athletes tend to overdevelop these muscle groups without the counter balance of their reciprocal pair. Overuse of these muscle groups will increase the demand that the body just simply can’t not support at these young ages.
A great example of this is a young soccer player...she plays soccer 11-12 months a year through a variety of high school, club games, practices and tournaments. She continues to push her body over and over through this one sport. Her quadriceps become too dominate; hamstrings, glutes and outside stabilizers are basically non-existent because of lack of other muscle group strength training. This will lead to the potential set up for an ACL tear which is up 400% over the last 10 years!!!Thus kids are having more “overuse” injuries and a decrease in overall playing times. This will lead to more physical therapy and even scarier increased risk of surgeries and chronic joint pain later on in life.
Don’t get me wrong I believe that it is great that these young athletes are so determined to become the next Mike Trout, Michael Phelps, Misty May-Trenor and so on but the emphasis on over training is a real issue that needs to be addressed. It all starts with you parents! Can you be the difference maker in these athletes’ lives?
Here are a few statistics to prove the point of over training and how important multiple sport playing and physical therapy prevention exercises can make a difference.
- ACL tears in soccer players are up 400% last 10 years
- Playing competitive baseball for greater than 8 consecutive months will lead to 5x risk of surgery on shoulder/elbow
- Playing/pushing through fatigue can increase risk of injury 36x.
- Male Swimmers: 4.00 injuries / 1000 hours of swimming
- Female Swimmers: 3.78 injuries / 1000 hours of swimming
- 91% of swimmers between 13-25 y/o have an episode of shoulder pain.
- 50-80% of volleyball injuries are from overuse.
- A 50% reduction in ankle sprains in volleyball with P.T. related prevention exercises.
Please take caution in playing your young athlete for more than 8 months consecutively in a given year. A lot of these injuries can be prevented through multiple sport play, active rest and coming to see the trained physical therapy staff here at Rausch . With proper injury prevention and knowledge we can help reduce this overuse trends and help our athletes play with more fun and much longer.