Early Single Sport Specialization Statistics

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.






  1. 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.
  2. 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
  3. 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.
  4. 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‐
  5. 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.

3 Reasons Why Water is So Important

By Sports PT Blog Team




“Baby, it’s hot outside!” Just a few months ago we were complaining about the cold in Upstate NY, but now that summer has officially arrived, heat and all, it’s important to remember to stay hydrated!


So what’s all the fuss about water, anyway? Here are three reasons why it’s so important to our bodies:


  1. Water boosts energy.
  2. Water delivers important nutrients to all our cells, especially muscle cells, postponing muscle fatigue.
  3. Water acts as a lubricant and cushion for your joints.


Water does many other helpful things, too, like regulate body temperature, flush body waste, and help maintain blood pressure; all of which helps keep us healthy and moving! So, grab a glass and take a sip! Your body will thank you!

The Many Benefits of Yoga

By Amy Barbasch, DPT




Have you been looking to try Yoga? Here are just a few of the many health benefits that Yoga may provide. 



Improves Flexibility and Balance-  Yoga commonly incorporates poses and movements that work on muscle flexibility and balance training. Studies have shown that yoga not only improves flexibility and balance but can therefore improve athletic performance. 



increased muscle strength and endurance- Yoga is commonly known to improve flexibility, however the practice can also help to increase strength and improve endurance. A number of yoga poses are used to build muscle tone and endurance with prolonged holds and repetition. 



Improves posture-  A number of yoga poses work to combat the modern day posture that can be easy to achieve through desk and computer work. A number of poses encourage spine extension combating the seated ‘flexed’ spine, as well as work on strength and endurance of the upper back and postural musculature helping to improve overall postural endurance. 



Helps train proper breathing- Yoga incorporates movement with breath. It can help to train the use of the diaphragm to not only improve the function of breath, but reduce the use of accessory muscles. This can help to improve breathing and lung function. 



Improves bone health- Weight-bearing exercises done against gravity have been shown to improve bone density and overall bone health. Yoga incorporates weight bearing through many joints of both the upper and lower body helping overall bone health and fighting osteoporosis. 



May help to improve sleep- Yoga has been found to increase the secretion of Melatonin, the hormone that is responsible for regulating sleep. Studies have also shown that yoga can reduce the need for medications to help one sleep. 



Decrease Stress- Many studies have shown that yoga can help with relaxation and decrease stress by decreasing the secretion of cortisol the primary stress hormone. 



May help to reduce depression- This may be because yoga is able to decrease levels of cortisol, a stress hormone that influences levels of serotonin, the neurotransmitter often associated with depression.



May help decrease Inflammation- Inflammation is a normal and needed immune response, however chronic inflammation can be a leading cause of pro inflammatory disease and pain. Some studies have shown that yoga may reduce inflammatory markers in the body and help prevent pro-inflammatory diseases and chronic inflammation. 



May help to reduce Chronic pain-  Although further research is needed on this, studies have shown that Yoga can help to reduce chronic pain in patients and improve overall physical function.



May help combat Migraines- 1 in 7 Americans deal with migraines each year; characterized as severe recurring headaches. Commonly migraines are treated with medications. Studies have shown that yoga may stimulate the vagus nerve helping to reduce migraine intensity and frequency. 




Whether you are an avid Yogi or looking to try a new form of exercise, Yoga has been found to be a safe and great form of activity. Roll out your mat and enjoy a Yoga class for International Yoga day! 





13 benefits of yoga supported by science: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/13-benefits-of-yoga#section14

38 Health Benefits of Yoga: https://www.yogajournal.com/lifestyle/count-yoga-38-ways-yoga-keeps-fit



Men’s Health and How it Relates to Injury

By Teresa Lindell, DPT, OSC


Everyone gets hurt whether they are male or female.  Did you know though that men are more susceptible to certain types of injuries than women?



  • Achilles tears: Men are three times more likely to tear this powerful tendon in the back of the leg. This is usually a result of playing sports and is most common in men in their 30s and 40s.  This is often repaired surgically and takes several months to return to sports.
  • Finger and Hand fractures: Men are also more likely to sustain fractures of the hand and fingers, usually due to a fight with yard or work equipment, or commonly in a fight with another person or wall when angry. The best way to prevent these types of injuries is to obviously avoid the cause of the situation.
  • Muscle tears: While women tend to have more problems with bone injury, men’s muscles and tendons tend to tear more under stress. This typically has to do with sport and recreation activities as well
  • Pelvic health: While men and women both have problems with pelvic pain at times, it can occur specifically in men after treatment for prostate cancer. Many men don’t realize that a physical therapist who specializes in pelvic floor rehab can make a really positive change for this population.



Physical therapy can help to prevent and treat many of these conditions and return men to their full participation in work, life, and sports.

June: Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month!

By: Melissa Patnella, SPT



What is Alzheimer’s Disease?


Alzheimer’s Disease is a form of dementia that occurs due to degenerative neurological changes in the brain and primarily affects those who are over the age of 65. The most prominent effects caused by Alzheimer’s are loss of memory, confusion, difficulty problem solving, trouble speaking and writing, and withdrawing from social activity.





How do I know if I have Alzheimer’s Disease?



Only 16% of adults over the age of 65 are receiving cognitive assessments during their annual check-ups. If you believe you are experiencing the early signs of Alzheimer’s Disease, tell your primary care physician. You may see exams on the internet that claim to test for Alzheimer’s but speaking to your doctor is the best way to receive an accurate diagnosis.




What do I do if I have Alzheimer’s Disease?



  • Be Open and Direct: Receiving an Alzheimer’s diagnosis can be an emotional experience. Create open conversation about your condition with your loved ones. Advocation for yourself and your feelings are important to open communication and mental well-being.


  • Seek Support: 8 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s, so you are not alone. Find local or online groups for emotional support and social activity with others with Alzheimer’s. In addition, push yourself to avoid withdrawal from your family and friends.


  • Use Your Voice: The number of people affected by Alzheimer’s is increasing. Your voice is important and powerful in educating those around you about your condition. Education can lead us closer to a cure.




What do I do if I have a loved one with Alzheimer’s Disease?



  • Create a Support System: If you are a care taker, remember that care taker burnout is a very real thing. Take advantage of online and local resources to ensure that you are adequately supported. You are taking care of someone in need; there is no shame in needing some support through your journey.


  • Stay connected: Maintaining family and friend relationships is important for caretaker mental and emotional health. Make time to socialize and stay active in the things that you love.


  • Use technology: MedicAlert+Alzheimer’s Safe Return is a technological device for your loved one with Alzheimer’s to wear. This allows their location to be tracked at all times and if they are lost they (or a person who finds them) can press the button and it will send an alert to you, as well as emergency services.




Resources for those who have Alzheimer’s:


  • 1-800-272-3900: Free confidential 24/7 helpline for those with Alzheimer’s Disease to refer to local programs and provide education, crisis assistance, and emotional support.


  • Alzconnected.org: Free online community for those affected by Alzheimer’s.




Resources for caretakers of those with Alzheimer’s:



  • 1-800-272-3900: This is a free, confidential 24/7 helpline for caretakers of those with Alzheimer’s disease to refer them to local support groups and provide education and emotional support.










Arthritis Awareness

By Kevin Brown, DPT


Approximately 50 million Americans are affected by arthritis and it has become one of the leading causes of pain and disability world-wide. With May being “Arthritis Awareness Month”, it seems appropriate to discuss a few areas of this condition. As a physical therapist at Sports Physical Therapy in New York, I have become extremely familiar with this disease and its progressive nature. 



It has become a common misconception that there are no effective treatments for arthritis. Unfortunately, many people become content with it and do not seek other options. One of the worst things people can do with this diagnosis is avoid exercise in fear of worsening their pain. Physical therapists need to educate people with arthritis on coping mechanisms including activity modification. For instance, people who are no longer able to run due to pain can still achieve the benefits of aerobic exercise by swimming, biking, or other exercises that reduce the impact through a joint. Education should also include the role of a diet on arthritis. Physical therapy can have a more direct role as well; manual therapy techniques provided within a PT clinic and an extensive home exercise program have both been shown to significantly improve symptoms associated with arthritis.  



One of the most common phrases I hear in the clinic is “I am bone on bone”. People often mistakenly accept this and give up on exercise all together. As I mentioned previously there are still treatment options. My best advice is to not give up and become complacent. Seek alternatives and stay as active as possible. You must consider other aspects of your physical well-being, and avoiding exercise has a tremendous impact on your cardiovascular health, mood, weight, other joints, etc. Mental health can also be significantly affected; depression is very prevalent in individuals with arthritis. When people are deprived of participating in their favorite activities it can be very debilitating.



Of course, there are cases in which arthritis is extreme and surgery is indicated such as total joint replacements. It is important to note two key aspects of joint replacements. 1) There is a shelf life of a joint replacement. Although many knee and hip replacements currently last up to 20 years, if you are young and active it may be wise to delay the surgery as long as possible. 2) The more range of motion and strength you have going into a total joint replacement, the better your prognosis will be. Many surgeons are now recommending “pre-habilitation services” prior to surgery to set themselves up for success afterwards.  A physical therapist can certainly help in this area to provide an appropriate exercise program individualized to one’s specific needs as well as educate them on expectations for surgery.        



Physical therapy for arthritis has been researched extensively and the benefits are well documented within the literature. If you are suffering from arthritis, I believe that is in your best interest to seek an experienced physical therapist to help guide you through the process and maximize your functional mobility.



Osteoporosis- What is it and how can physical therapy help my bones?

By Teresa Lindell, DPT, OSC


Osteoporosis is a common disease that causes a thinning and weakening of the bones. It can affect people of any age but is most common in women over age 50. Osteoporosis affects 55% of Americans aged 50 or older; one-half of women and a quarter of men will fracture a bone as a result of low bone density (osteopenia) or osteoporosis.  Other risk factors for this disease are smoking, medications, and sedentary lifestyle.




Osteoporosis is typically diagnosed by a bone-density test ordered by a physician, which is a simple specialized X-ray.  It is very important that men and women advocate to have this test done, as osteoporosis is a “silent” disease and has often has no symptoms.  Left undiagnosed, a person can have a fracture occur from a simple misstep or even a big hug.



How can physical therapy help with a bone disease?  Believe it or not, weight bearing and resistance exercises are one of the most important methods of both prevention and treatment of osteoporosis.  Some of the most effective treatments include activities like dancing and lifting weights.  Physical therapists are specially trained to help determine the best exercises, dosage, and progression for each individual.  If you are at risk for osteoporosis or have already been diagnosed, please see your trusted physical therapist for treatment.



The following link has more information about this topic.




National Women’s Health Week

By Julie Wolfley PT, DPT, OCS





Happy National Women’s Health Week! This year marks the 20th anniversary and runs from Mother’s Day to May 18, 2019 with a focus of encouraging women to be as healthy as possible. #NWHW



Celebrate YOU! Take this week to make a step toward improving your physical or mental health.


Here are a few physical ideas to celebrate you this week that may help you on your healthy path.



  • Schedule your annual Primary MD visit to get your preventive screening and bloodwork
  • Schedule you annual mammogram
  • Drink more water, 11 cups a day is recommended for the average female by the National Academy of Medicine
  • Get at least 7-9 hours of sleep
  • Calculate your BMI ( bmi-calculator.net)
  • Be physically active for at least 30 minutes a day
  • If you have aches and pains with your physical activity, contact your physical therapist to assess your symptoms to restore your activity level.
  • Consult with a nutritionist if you want some healthy eating tips







Ride Your Bike! Good Form Matters!

By Sports PT Blog Team



Bike riding is an excellent form of exercise and brings many health benefits. Today is National Ride Your Bike to School Day and we are excited to see all the students riding their bikes today!



Bicycling has increased in popularity over the years. There are outdoor biking clubs and indoor cycling programs readily available in most communities now. Just like all forms of exercise, good form is essential when performing this exercise to avoid injury.



Bicycles are designed to position your body in the right posture and allow for efficient aerodynamic movement. If you feel pain or discomfort in your wrists, neck, back or knees, then it is likely that your body is being pulled out of alignment from an improperly fitted bike. The careful placement of your seat, center tube and handlebars can make the difference between a cramp in your back and an optimal ride.



Here are a few tips that will help keep your form good when riding bikes:



  1. Always wear a helmet!
  2. Find the proper seat height. Your best form begins with having the correct height so that you are not bending incorrectly.
  3. Your shoulders should be down and back when riding to minimize any neck pain—even when you’re tired!
  4. Keep your back flat and your chest up. Keeping your back flat will help you keep your weight evenly distributed and not put too much pressure on your lower back.
  5. How you pedal is important. Your knee should never be completely straight when pedaling; there should be a very slight bend in the most extended position.



Enjoy your bike ride! Keep moving!

WNBA MVP Injuries Achilles Tendon- Now What?

By Sports PT Blog Team



Breanna Stewart, a WNBA MVP, former Syracuse native and recipient of just about every women’s basketball honor during her career, was helped off the court on Sunday during Dynamo Kursk’s EuroLeague title game vs UMMC Ekaterinburg. It looks like Breanna will need surgery to repair an injured Achilles tendon. So what does that mean for her career and how long should her rehab be?


An Achilles injury can take up to a year of recovery and rehabilitation before a basketball player returns to the court. Former WNBA and Olympic star Tamika Catchings had surgery on her Achilles in Sept. 2007 and played in the 2008 Olympics and in the 2008 WNBA season. DeMarcus Cousins ruptured his Achilles in January 2018; he returned to the NBA a year later. This shouldn’t be a career-ending injury, but Breanna will definitely be in rehab for a while.


The Achilles tendon is one of the strongest in the body and when surgery is needed to repair it, it’s one of the longest rehab periods of any surgery. Usually at six weeks, patients are allowed full weight-bearing out of the cast or boot. Physical therapy is started and is aimed at restoring ankle range of motion. Strengthening of the calf muscles and Achilles is gradually allowed as the tendon heals. Patients are usually able to return to full activity by six months.


We send our best wishes to Breanna for a healthy recovery! #GetPT1st