A recent study published in The American Journal of Sports Medicine examines the risks factors for overuse injuries in youth athletes. The study by Post et al (2017) compared athletes who exceeded recommended limits for sports participation to athletes who did not.
Current recommendations are:
- Not specializing in one sport
- Competing less than 8 months/year
- Participating in fewer hours/week than the child’s age (<14 hrs/wk for a 14 yr old athlete)
The study found that athletes who exceeded any of these recommendations were at a 1.5 times greater risk for overuse injuries.
This highlights the risk of overspecialization in one sport that is becoming epidemic these days. Youth athletes are more commonly playing one sport, and often playing year-round. This puts them at greater risk of developing common overuse injuries.