The ‘Silent Epidemic’ of Youth Sports Injuries – Chart
Youth athletes who compete in multiple leagues and play sports year-round tend to overuse the same muscles and joints. Dr. Thomas DeBerardino, associate professor of orthopedics at UConn Health, said overuse can lead to serious injuries, such as a dislocated shoulder, a torn anterior cruciate ligament, and ligaments that are generally more common in adults.
DeBerardino will host a meeting American College of Orthopaedic Surgeons A conference on youth sports injuries in New Orleans, Louisiana, this week.
Calling the wave of injuries a “silent epidemic,” he said he saw three major injuries — the head, neck and knees. Some young players play with several teams on a year-round schedule.
“If you’re on multiple teams, it damages the overall health of their kids’ shoulders and knees,” he said. “It boils down to being overscheduled. In addition to being overscheduled, they are also overexposed and potentially injured.
“They never rest. That increases the risk of overuse and adult-type injuries like stress and ligament damage.”
One example DeBerardino cites is youth baseball. Young pitchers could end up getting high pitching numbers in their various leagues and increasing their risk of elbow and shoulder injuries.
His advice to young athletes is simple: learn to listen to your body.
“Every child and body is different,” he said. “Everyone has a different threshold. If you’re overtired, you do too much and you don’t have enough recovery, you get hurt. Every parent and person in charge of a child needs to pay attention. You don’t have to check on your child. Ask Do they feel overwhelmed, over-challenged. When you need a break, you need a break.”
And the reality is that not every kid is going to be Zack Greinke.
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