Chad LaChance, PT, DPT, ATC, CSCS
- Less than 1% of young athletes age 6-17 years old achieve elite status in basketball, soccer, softball, baseball or soccer
- Highly specialized youth athletes are at 2.5x greater risk of serious injury as opposed to their non-specialized peers
- In one study, those who trained more than 28 hours per week in their varsity sport before high school were more likely to report multiple injuries (90.0 vs. 56.7%).
- “Specialization” is classified as a young athlete that participates in year-round training > 8 months of the year, chooses a single main sport and quits all other sports to focus on single sport.
- In a study of 519 junior tennis players, 70% of them claimed to begin single-sport specialization by age 10.
- 20% of children ages 8 to 12 and 45% of those ages 13 to 14 will have arm pain during a single youth baseball season.
- The American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM) published results of a 2012 survey that found 88% of college athletes surveyed participated in more than one sport as a child.
- DiFiori JP, Benjamin HJ, Brenner J, Gregory A, Jayanthi N, Landry GL, Luke A. Overuse Injuries and Burnout in Youth Sports: A Position Statement from the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine. Clin J Sports Med. 2014;24(1):3-20.
- American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine. (2019, March 16). Early sports specialization tied to increased injury rates in college athletes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 16, 2019 from sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/03/190316162202.htm
- Abbott, A., Collins, D., Sowerby, K. & Martindale, R. (2007). Developing the Potential of Young People in Sport: A report for sportscotland by The University of Edinburgh, sportscotland: Edinburgh.
- Fransen, J., Pion, J., Vandendriessche, J., Vandorpe, B., Vaeyens, R., Lenoir, M., & Philippaerts, RM. (2012). Differences in physical fitness and gross motor coordination in boys aged 6‐12 years specializing in one versus sampling more than one sport. Journal of Sport Sciences, 30, 379‐
- Jayanthi, N., Pinkham, C., & Luke, A. (2011). The Risks of Sports Specialization and Rapid Growth in Young Athletes. 2011 Annual Meeting of the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine. April 30th-May4th, Salt Lake City, Utah.