News & Events

Young Athletes are Particularly at Risk for Overuse Injuries

Article From: – Written by: Scott Sailor, EdD, ATC President, National Athletic Trainers’ Association

In a previous column, I discussed the dangers of ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) tears facing pitchers of all ages. While this is a serious injury that can lead to reconstructive surgery, known as Tommy John surgery, baseball players aren’t the only athletes at risk of overuse injuries. In fact, approximately half of sports-related injuries sustained by young athletes ages 6 to 18 are overuse-related.

Overuse injuries are more prevalent in sports that require training of repetitive motions or skills, such as rowing, softball, volleyball, cross-country, track and field, soccer and field hockey. These injuries can lead to signs of inflammation and tendinitis. They can also cause stress fractures, tiny cracks in the bone, if the body is not given adequate time to recover or regenerate, or if the injury is blunt and with immediate or sustained impact.

Overuse injuries come on gradually and may take time for the symptoms to be noticed. As a result, they often go undiagnosed and untreated for longer periods of time. This can lead to long-term consequences, including loss of playing time, reduced function and mental exhaustion.

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Alabama-based surgeon to the stars pleads with parents to give young athletes a break

My summers growing up were consumed by “travel ball.” I feel like I saw most of the southeastern United States before I was 12 because every summer weekend meant another district tournament, state championship, world series, or showcase.

During the school year, football season overlapped with basketball season, which led right back into baseball.

I loved it. Unlike some of the other kids, I was fortunate in that my parents were always supportive, but never pressured me to do more than I wanted to. Other kids weren’t so lucky.

The father of one of the kids on my travel baseball team growing up was a firefighter. He would throw batting practice to his son almost all day. He would leave him sitting on a bucket in the batting cage just long enough to answer a call from the fire station, then return and get right back to it. They did that for years. The kid went on to play in the Atlanta Braves organization, so maybe it paid off. But while the rest of us were having fun, baseball for him was already a job at the age of 10.


WRITTEN BY  :

Jennie A., Collegiate Track & Field Athlete

Athletes’ Training Center has worked to specialize workouts to fit my athletic needs. The strength coaches have a one on one personal connection to fix minor details that have had a major impact on my athletic performance.