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Specialization injuries in young athletes

Written by Merideth Bucher, Producer | Aug 14, 2018 4:57 AM
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What to look for on Smart Talk Wednesday, August 8, 2018:

Youth sports is big business and it's getting bigger. Children as young as pre-school are joining competitive sports programs and specializing at younger ages.

Boston NPR affiliate WBUR reported that in the past, American kids went out for Little League and school sports and, occasionally, one may have gone on to play in college or maybe even the pros. Today, a new model exists that seems to promote the pursuit of college scholarships and the elusive professional contract.

In fact, young athletes and their parents say that players have little chance of even making a high school team if they don't pick a sport early and stick with it.

This emphasis on sports specialization and, in many cases, performing year-round, is having significant health consequences.

Sports medicine researchers are reporting overuse injury trends. Drs. Randolph Cohen and Eric Eisner, U18 Sports Medicine, Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital in Hollywood, FL, see an injury trend in young children who are playing sports for long hours and with great repetition. The researchers say that 20 years ago injuries like this were much rarer. They attribute it to the increase in kids specializing in a single sport and competing at a younger age.

Smart Talk is highlighting the risk of specialization injuries in young athletes with Dr. Michael Cordas, UPMC Pinnacle, board certified in family practice and sports medicine and the chairman of the Sports Medicine Advisory Committee of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA).

Also, in the studio is Dr. Matthew Silvis, Penn State Hershey Sports Medicine, and author of forthcoming paper on overuse injuries. Coach Charlie Fortney, Program director, Advanced Hoops AAU Basketball, is in the studio, as well. Coach Fortney played high school and collegiate basketball and assists players in the college basketball recruiting process.

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Dr. Matthew Silvis, Coach Charlie Fortney and Dr. Michael Cordas

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