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Do you have kids playing sports? Stop for a minute and think about how many hours they play every week. Did you get your answer? OK, then, you are ready to move on to hear this new study about kids playing sports…
A new study just came out that is proving that kids that play MORE hours of sports every week than their age are 70% more prone to injuries!
So they should play AN HOUR A WEEK FOR EVERY YEAR THAT THEY HAVE BEEN ALIVE…
(Example: if they are 7, they should play less than 7 hours total a week)
Yes, it is great to develop a love of sports and to improve their skills early on, but they can suffer life-long injuries if they train for too many hours and too hard before they are fully developed.
The study goes on to say that many children are not given the chance to just play multiple sports, but instead, their parents and coaches are focusing on one sport and one position. This is causing the overuse of that muscle and bone. For example, instead of a seven year old playing soccer and baseball, in all positions on the field, the adults are insisting that their child play pitcher or catcher and and they are rarely rotated to other positions that require other muscles. This is resulting in overuse of that particular body part.
The study included more than 1,200 athletes, aged 8 to 18, who came in for sports physicals or treatment of injuries between 2010 and 2013. There were a total of more than 850 injuries, including more than 550 overuse injuries. There were close to 150 serious overuse injuries, which included stress fractures in the back or limbs, elbow ligament injuries, and injuries to the cartilage and underlying bone. These types of injuries can prevent young athletes from playing sports for several months, the researchers stated.
Dan Gould, director of the Institute for the Study of Youth Sports at Michigan State University reveals the dangers of pressing children to succeed earlier at a particular sport. He states that “It’s not bad for a kid to start a recreational sport at four, but specializing? We are seeing more ‘Little League pitching elbow’ from repeated exposure,” he said, referring to a common injury in young pitchers trying to throw faster fastballs and curve-balls that can distort the arm muscles and joints.
“It’s getting crazy too soon – maybe there’s a race to get athletic scholarships, but there’s a lot of pressure on kids to do year-round sports,” said Gould.
I say that I completely agree. The study states that the chance of recovery after an injury at a young age is only 25-50% and can later result in back problems and slip discs.
My husband played football, basketball and ran track, among other things. He was constantly playing a sport. From elementary school until just recently, he never stopped. He was always involved in something (focusing on football). He was the Captain of his high school football team and he was recruited by a college to play football.
He loved it! He gave 100%. The result? 9 surgeries, including a back surgery and several Herniated discs, slipped discs and pinched nerves. He even has lost the shock absorber between his vertebrae, resulting in degenerative disc disease.
It wasn’t until his back surgery that his Doctor told him that he could no longer play sports or even go for a jog. He can walk for exercise, but that’s it. He is only 31. Do you need more proof? I, on the other hand, am completely injury free… now, my husband would laugh at this, I’m sure, because he teases me for my lack of athletic abilities. I was in numerous clubs, on many teams, student government, in school plays, ran track, played tennis, played softball, skied, played basketball, taught aerobics, taught kick-boxing. Yes, I played many sports, but I was not great at them. I just enjoyed them. Not to say that this is always the case, as you’ll see in the next paragraph.
My two best friends, Sarah and Angela were both wonderful athletes, so I lived vicariously through them (and they knew it – haha!) They really don’t have any major injuries and they both played softball through high school. I sometimes think that it was the college ball that really hurt my husband. I suppose there is truth to the study… teach your children to be well-rounded in their activities while they are young.
The study encourages kids to run, throw, kick and hit balls. It encourages children to be active! It cautions young athletes because they were also more likely to be injuries if they spent twice the amount of time playing organized sports than in free play (like an outdoor game with friends, pick-up games or different sports and positions).
Our kids play sports, I just hope to keep them at a less-than aggressive schedule:
Here’s our own little football player, Jack…