Can kids get overuse injuries from playing the same sport too much?

Specialized athletes—including children—are those who train and compete in one sport at the exclusion of other sports, and studies have shown that specialized athletes are more prone to repetitive motion injuries known as overuse injuries.

To help prevent overuse injuries, encourage your child’s participation in a variety of sports, delaying specialization in one sport until late adolescence.

To protect your child from overuse injury, consider limiting volume of training throughout the year. Specifically, allow one to two days per week and two to three months per year of rest from the primary sport.

Kids can get overuse injuries from playing the same sport too often. That's why it’s important to teach kids proper form for each sport, as well as proper conditioning, strength-training and flexibility throughout the season. Make sure your child has at least a day or two “off” every week from sports. Also, try to limit the number of teams your child plays on during each season. We encourage participation in a variety of sports throughout the year and not necessarily focusing on one sport as a child is growing up. This encourages cross-training and the use of all the muscles and movements in the child’s body. Some sports do limit certain activities in an attempt to prevent overuse injuries. For instance, Little League Baseball limits the number of pitches a player can throw in a certain time period. These kinds of rules aren’t available for sports like tennis or golf, so parents and coaches should help regulate their players’ practice and play times.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.