NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Last season, the Titans saw an unprecedented amount of soft tissue injuries, which often happen due to overuse. For those players, their sport is their job, but I spoke with a doctor who says overuse injuries are also on the rise in youth sports.
“What you don’t see is Lebron James playing basketball twelve months out of the year. You don’t see Lebron James playing six games in a weekend. And yet, we do that to our kids,” said Director of Vanderbilt Youth Sports Health Center Dr. Alex Diamond.
Overuse injuries aren’t just for professional athletes.
“I think overuse injuries and sports specialization is really one of the next big things we’re seeing in youth sport. Unfortunately, we certainly are seeing a wide variety of those, and that can involve growth plates as well. I think kids are more vulnerable and susceptible to overuse injury,” said Diamond.
Sport specialization happens when kids are chasing the dream of making it to the next level.
“We want our kids to achieve and reach their dreams, but only about 1 percent of kids will actually make it to the professional level. And so, what we have to do is focus on the other 99 percent.”
The key is to play multiple sports.
“Sports diversification is the other word and that’s really important so one,” he said. “It allows you to work on other muscle groups which may actually benefit your primary sport and it let’s some of those primary muscle groups have a bit of a break. “
The goal is to aim for a variety in activity, but not overdo it. A good rule of thumb?
“Data has shown that less number of stress injuries, overuse injuries when you abide by that rule. What I’ll say is sport is the leading pathway to engage in physical activity.”
Dr. Diamond also said this is on coaches to ensure there’s enough time to warm up and cool down before and after a game or practice. Also, it’s on parents to not push their child to the point when overuse injuries occur.