Former NFL QB Chad Pennington calls specialization a ‘disservice’Add former NFL quarterback Chad Pennington to the growing list of professional athletes who are not a fan of sport specialization.
Speaking to USA Today, the former Miami Dolphins and New York Jets quarterback said the only ones benefitting from single-sport athletes are the entrepreneurs who have built their businesses around them. Pennington runs the Central Kentucky Youth Football League in Lexington and he also has been a middle school coach, according to the article.“I am a complete believer in multiple sports for our youth,” Pennington told USA Today. “Specialization is a complete disservice to our youth for multiple reasons, including overuse injuries and elbow and ACL injuries happening at much younger ages. I also think multiple sports allows young athletes to compete in different arenas and situations and enhances your best sport.
“The notion that our kids must specialize and find that sport at a young age is completely false. I disagree with it and think it’s wrong. Youth sports entrepreneurs have created 12-month sports to fill their bank accounts instead of focusing on the kids and what’s best for them.”
Pennington went on to compare young athletes to college freshmen who don’t yet know what major they’ll choose. He also said he supports flag football as a way to develop a kid’s skills in the sport.
There’s a long list of former pros and coaches who have spoken out against specialization, including Joe Maddon, Joe Girardi, Mike Matheny, Dave Winfield, John Smoltz, J.J. Watt and Jordy Nelson.
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