Do you have a young athlete at home? Conventional wisdom suggests that sports help kids stay fit and learn cooperation. And while athletics are undoubtedly important, a new study indicates that focusing exclusively on one sport may not be in a child’s best interests. According to a report from Loyola University Medical Center in Chicago, kids who concentrate on a single sport may suffer an enhanced injury risk compared to youngsters who participate in multiple sports or activities.

If you have questions about your son or daughter’s participation in athletics, or if your child has suffered a sports injury, don’t hesitate to schedule a consultation with La Peer Health Systems’ Knee Surgery Center of Excellence. Led by Dr. Rajan Patel and Dr. Andrew Weiss, we offer expert treatment for a variety of orthopedic injuries and conditions.

Single Sport Spells Higher Risk

In a study of 1,200 young athletes, researchers found that over-participating in athletics, particularly in a single sport, led to an increased risk of injury. According to the report, young athletes who spent 13 hours a week playing an organized sport (and 9 more in unorganized physical play) were more likely to suffer an injury than those who spent only 9 hours playing a sport (and 9 more in unorganized play). Overall, researchers found that youngsters should spend less time engaged in structured sports than in unorganized play.

Doctors also found that kids and teens should spend a number of hours less than or equal to their age engaged in sports play. For example, a 12-year old should not play sports for more than 12 hours in one week. Additionally, young athletes should avoid specializing in a single sport until late adolescence and take at least one day a week off from training. Adhering to these recommendations may help reduce a young athlete’s risk of suffering serious injuries.

Common Knee Injuries Among Young Athletes

Among young athletes, injuries related to overuse are some of the most common. According to an article in Medical News Today, kids and teens are most likely to suffer knee injuries, ankle sprains, muscle strains, Achilles tendon tears, fractures and dislocations as well as general pain and discomfort. Overuse injuries may be especially concerning in young people, as their growing bodies can make surgical treatment more complicated.

To combat this danger, the doctors at the Knee Surgery Center recommend that all young people undergo physical examinations before participating in sports. Additionally, it’s crucial that young athletes see a board-certified orthopedic surgeon in the event that they suffer injuries during play. Seeking immediate treatment is the best way to prevent permanent damage and get young athletes back on their feet.

Contact the Knee Surgery Center

The orthopedic surgeons at the Knee Surgery Center of Excellence specialize in the treatment of a variety of orthopedic and sports medicine injuries and conditions including ACL tears and meniscus injuries. If you or your child has suffered a sports injury to the knee, or if you’re seeking a second opinion, don’t hesitate to call our board-certified surgeons at (888) 429-6865.