Overuse injuries in youth sports are occurring at a much higher rate than in the past. As children are participating in sports at a young age and, beyond that, specializing in a particular sport at a young age overuse injuries are becoming more common.
I coached select baseball for over ten years and am a big supporter of youth sports but I noticed a trend during those years towards both sport specialization and overuse of pitchers. From my experience, too many coaches and parents are allowing overuse injuries to occur. In baseball, I would encourage coaches and parents to 1) restrict the number of pitches a player throws per game, 2) increase the number of days of rest according to the number of pitches thrown, and 3) don’t allow younger players to throw curve balls (I encourage players to wait until age 14). Please go to this link to see what the MLB Pitch Smart program recommends: http://m.mlb.com/pitchsmart/pitching-guidelines
In general, doctors are seeing an epidemic of overuse injuries among youth sports participants. Here are some points to take into account: 1) overuse injuries occur when an athlete uses the same muscles over and over without proper rest and 2) overuse injuries are occurring at a younger age and are leading to surgeries that are designed for professional athletes.
Safe Kids Worldwide recommends the following steps to reducing overuse injuries:
Emphasize proper stretching before practices and games.
Take at least 2 months off from one particular sport per year. Play other sports.
Players must be honest with coaches and parents about pain and injuries.
For more information:
Safe Kids Worldwide: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lyZifnHAahk&feature=youtu.be
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