Overuse Cause of Youth’s Sports Injuries
Biloine W. Young • Wed, January 22nd, 2014
The emphasis on competitive success in youth sports has led to burnout and a rise in overuse injuries, according to a new clinical report by the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine. The report provides guidance to professionals who provide care to young athletes.
The researchers, through a literature search, found that overuse injuries comprise 50% of sports injuries. “Not only are overuse injuries in young athletes likely much more common than is realized, these injuries can require lengthy recovery periods, and in some cases, they can result in long-term health consequences,” said John P. DiFiori, M.D., chief of sports medicine and non-operative orthopedics at UCLA and president of the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine. “Children grow and mature at different rates, making chronologic age a poor barometer for parents and coaches to set expectations and gauge progress.”
Researchers recommended that a history of prior injury should be a part of each injury assessment and pre-participation examination. Because early sport specialization may increase risk for overuse injury and burnout, parents and physicians should encourage sport diversification among younger athletes.
Researchers also recommended limited weekly and yearly participation time and limited sport-specific repetitive movements; scheduled rest periods; and careful monitoring of training workload during the adolescent growth spurt, as injury risk seems to be greater during this phase. Injury rates also can be reduced with pre-season conditioning programs and pre-practice neuromuscular training, the report noted.