Surveys of high school athletes suggest that respondents who specialize in playing a single sport, or train in the sport more than 8 months out of the year, may be more likely to experience knee injuries, overuse knee injuries, and hip injuries.
Recently published in The American Journal of Sports Medicine, the 1-year observational study of high school athletes was led by David Bell, an assistant professor with the Department of Kinesiology’s Athletic Training Program and the director of the Wisconsin Injury in Sport Laboratory (WISL) at University of Wisconsin-Madison and colleagues across the UW-Madison campus.
In their study, the team had 302 high school athletes who attended either a large school or a small school complete a survey examining sport specialization and another asking about injury history. They then divided the athletes into low, moderate or high specialization groups, explains a media release from University of Madison-Wisconsin.
Among the athletes who completed the survey, 34.8% were classified as low specialization, 28.8% as moderate, and 36.4% as high specialization. According to the information gleaned from the surveys, athletes from the small school were more likely to be classified in the low specialization group (low, 43%; moderate, 32%; high, 25%) compared with those from the large school (low, 26%; moderate, 26%; high, 48%).
The researchers also found that athletes in the high specialization group were more likely to report a history of overuse knee injuries compared with those in the moderate or low specialization groups. Similarly, athletes who trained in one sport for more than 8 months out of the year were more likely to report a history of knee injuries, overuse knee injuries, and hip injuries, according to the release.
Regarding the findings, Bell states in the release that a key takeaway from this study should be to, “Make sure your children are getting breaks in competition.”
[Source(s): The American Journal of Sports Medicine, Science Daily]