Study: Specialization increases risk of serious injury

November 8, 2017 / Athletic AdministrationCoaching
Year-round specialization does not improve an athletes chances of playing professionally. Instead, according to a new study, it increases the risk of serious injury.

The latest report confirms what dozens of studies have already concluded in recent years — sport specialization does more harm than good. The study examined professional baseball players in the Atlantic League, and it was published this month by the Orthopedic Journal of Sports Medicine.

Dr. John Deitch, one of the researchers, said the findings don’t just apply to baseball players.

From Transforming Health:

“Parents need to understand that too much of anything can have a detrimental effect on us, and always keep that in the back of the mind,” Deitch said.

Deitch, an orthopedic surgeon, has seen an uptick in overuse injuries among teens and college-aged athletes, which he traces back to too much training.

He says children are better off being active in a variety of sports, which helps them to build the foundation for athletic success when they become teenagers.

According to the study, early sport specialization in youth athletes has been increasing progressively, to the point that 77.7 percent of high school athletic directors have reported an increase in this trend. Coach & Athletic Director’s annual survey of athletic administrators consistently finds that sport specialization is among the greatest concerns in high school athletic departments.

In the study, nearly half of players who participated reported specializing in a single sport at an early age. Those players suffered more serious injuries during their careers than the players who didn’t specialize.

Of all players, 63.4 percent said they didn’t believe sport specialization was required to play professionally.

Click here to read the study.

More of the same

Numerous studies in recent years reached similar conclusions that specialization is detrimental to a young athlete’s health. Here are a few:

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