As reported by Bill Pennington in the February 22, 2005 edition of The New York Times, “Dr. Lyle Micheli, a pioneer in the field of treating youth sports injuries and director of the sports medicine division of Boston Children’s Hospital, said that 25 years ago, only 10 percent of the patients he treated came to him for injuries caused by overuse…. overuse injuries now represented 70 percent of the cases he sees.” Dr. Micheli said, “By playing one sport year-round, there is no rest and recovery for the overused parts of their body. Parents think they are maximizing their child’s chances by concentrating on one sport.”
On July 3, 2006, Akilah Imani Nelson of The State (Columbia, SC) reported on the benefits of “varied athletic endeavors” (with some rest) over the course of a year vs. the overuse injury risks of year-round single-sport participation:
“‘Participation in multiple sports over the course of a year is not harmful, and in many cases makes the athlete more well-rounded in their skills,’ said Dr. Jeffrey Dugas, of the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine…. Approximately 4.8 million youth athletes suffer overuse injuries — also called repetitive use injuries — each year nationwide, according to [the Institute for Preventative Sports Medicine]. The injuries are most commonly seen in athletes who specialize in one sport. But risk also exists for the multi-sport athlete who pairs sports that strain the same muscle.
… doctors offer three points to remember to keep multiple-sport athletes healthy:
– Pain, limited range of motion, loss of function or loss of sensation never should be ignored. Athletes, parents and coaches should identify and seek medical help for such issues as soon as possible.
– Children can handle multi-sport participation whenever they are able to handle the requirements of the sport without pain or loss of function.
– The number and intensity of practices a body can handle depends on age, physique and sport, which is why it is important coaches are certified to use age-appropriate conditioning techniques and drills.”
A July 3, 2006 column by John Gambadoro for the Arizona Republic‘s online affiliate, azcentral.com, spoke to the role of parents in the specialization of kids sports:
“… today in the era of specialization our children are being forced to pick one sport at an early age and stick with that sport. There are club sports, private lessons, camps, training programs and nutritionists for kids – and there is the cost. Some club sports can cost upwards of $1,000 for a season, and that’s not counting the traveling to tournaments in different states.
… In an effort to keep up with the kids that are playing year round parents are realizing that if they want their kid to have a chance at making that junior high or high school team than they have to follow suit. Sign up for the club team, go to camps, and get personal training. If you don’t than your kid is behind the 8-ball. Behind the other children that are playing year round. It’s a cycle that seems to have no end. There are issues with this philosophy such as injuries and burnout. Parents need to be aware of those things. They need to know when to pull back, when to shut a kid down. The body does need time to rest and time to heal. And kids need time to be with friends outside of the fields.”
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #28 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Chat With Mano Watsa, a Leading Basketball and Life Educator – Watsa is President of PGC Basketball, the largest education basketball camp in the world, with over 150 camps in 30+ U.S. states and Canada. We discuss problems in youth sports today, including single sport specialization, the growing gap between the “haves” and “have-nots,” the high drop-out rate in competitive sports, and the growing mental health challenges young athletes are dealing with today.
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Episode #27 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Kids’ Sports: How We Can Take Back the Game and Restore Quality Family Time In the Process – Linda Flanagan is author of “Take Back the Game: How Money and Mania Are Ruining Kids’ Sports and Why It Matters.” We discuss how commercialized and professionalized youth sports are hurting kids and their families.
Episode #26 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Fix Youth Sports? – John O’Sullivan is Founder and CEO of Changing the Game Project and author of “Changing the Game: The Parents Guide to Raising Happy, High Performing Athletes and Giving Youth Sports Back to Our Kids.”
Episode #25 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Physical Education Should Be a Critical Component of K-12 School Design – Michael Horn is co-founder of the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation.
Episode #24 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Mental Health and Athletes: Ending the Stigma – Nathan Braaten and Taylor Ricci are the founders of Dam Worth It, a non-profit created to end the stigma around mental health at colleges and universities through sport, storytelling, and community creation.
Episode #23 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Olympian Benita Fitzgerald Mosley Talks Title IX, Youth Sports and the Olympics.
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
- League of Fans Sports Policy Director Ken Reed quoted in Washington Post column titled "What happened to P.E.? It’s losing ground in our push for academic improvement," by Jay Mathews
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
Vanderbilt Sport & Society - On The Ball with Andrew Maraniss with guest Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director for League of Fans and author of How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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Ken Reed’s Author Page on Amazon