GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. – Children who dedicate too much time on a single sport could be doing more harm than good.
According to a new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics, children who specialize in one sport year round are a higher risk of overuse injuries. The AAP recommends children should play more one sport until the ages of 15 or 16. In addition, youth athletes should take two days off a week and take three months off a year, one month at a time.
Dr. Nicole LaVoi from the Tucker Center at the University of Minnesota hopes the new recommendation is a game changer.
“The simple way to think about it is the more collapsed your sport experience becomes the greater likelihood you are going to have negative outcomes,” said Dr. LaVoi. “College coaches are telling me they are getting kids now that have early specialized and by the time they get that scholarship, or playing college athletics, they are kind of done – they are either injured, burned out. They are losing kids.”
As for parents who point to elite athletes who spent their youth focused on one sport, such as Venus and Serena Williams and Tiger Woods, Dr. LaVoi points out those cases are extremely rare.
“These are the .001 percent of highly talented athletes, where that pathway to elite performance worked but for every Serena, Venus or tiger woods you have thousands of other kids this model does not work for them.”
(© 2016 KARE)