One of the saddest developments in sports — at all levels — is the growing trend of youth and high school athletes specializing in one sport and playing that sport year-round. The results aren’t pretty. The professionalization of young athletes is resulting in more cases of overuse injuries, putting the future health and mobility of these young athletes in jeopardy. See “Year-Round Sports Lead to Injury Epidemic Among Athletes.”
“The amount of teenagers coming in [for overuse injuries] over the past five to ten years has dramatically changed,” says Dr. Mark Lawler, an orthopedic surgeon. “We call it an epidemic.”
Lawler says overuse injuries are becoming especially prevalent with teen females, a growth demographic for year-round club sports organizations. Year-round sports specialization causes stress on the same muscles and joints over and over again, with very little recovery time. However, complete rest isn’t necessary. Simply playing other sports or taking part in different exercises is enough to help the body recover.
“You don’t ultimately have to rest,” says Lawler. “What you have to do is cross-train and do some other activities so you can stay active with an overuse injury.”
There are a growing number of programs designed to reduce the number of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries, especially for teen females. However, no prevention program is a match for overzealous coaches and parents who continue to subject their young athletes to sports specialization on a year-round basis.
“The whole notion of sport-specificity at a very young age is extremely dangerous,” says Holly Silvers, director of research at the Santa Monica Sports Medicine Foundation. “You’re basically using the same muscles all year round. That’s why these [injury] numbers continue to increase.” See “New Steps to Help Prevent Knee Injuries in Teen Sports.”
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #14 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Making Sense of the Injury Pandemic in Major League Baseball – The guest is Gary McCoy, a strength, conditioning and high performance coach who has worked with several Major League Baseball organizations. Our focus is the injury pandemic in baseball, what’s causing it and how it can be fixed.
Follow on Facebook: @SportsForumPodcast
Episode #13 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Conversation With Long-Time MLB Exec Dan Evans About What’s Right With Baseball and What Could Be Better – Evans is a former general manager for the Los Angeles Dodgers and is currently a consultant for Go the Distance Baseball, which owns the Field of Dreams movie site.
Episode #12 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Fun Chat With Dan Gutman, Author of the Baseball Card Adventure Series for Kids
Episode #11 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Latest on Brain Trauma, Concussions and CTE with Dr. Chris Nowinski – Nowinski is CEO of the Concussion Legacy Foundation.
Episode #10 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: An Issues Discussion With Paul Dolan – Dolan is the Cleveland Indians Owner and CEO.
Episode #9 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking Sports Issues With Ralph Nader – Nader is a consumer advocate and was named one of the “100 Most Influential Americans of the 20th Century” by Time magazine. He is the founder of League of Fans.
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.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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.
Order from Amazon
Order from Amazon
Order from Amazon
Ken Reed’s Author Page on Amazon