Year-Round Competitive Sports Children: Injuries on the Rise among Young Athletes

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), July 24, 2017 | Go to article overview

Year-Round Competitive Sports Children: Injuries on the Rise among Young Athletes


Byline: Submitted by Advocate Children's Hospital

Summertime means T-ball, Little League and other forms of competitive baseball for many youngsters. But for kids playing at younger and younger ages, competing at a high level on a year-round schedule, baseball season can result in injuries previously seen more commonly in adult athletes.

"Historically, kids did multiple activities, changing sports according to season and it was less organized. Now the trend is kids at younger and younger ages playing one sport, year-round, with no break," says Dr. Glenn Reinhart, a pediatric orthopedic surgeon at Advocate Children's Hospital.

"The issues in pediatric sports medicine that I see are overuse injuries and traumatic injuries."

Reinhart, who is fellowship trained in both pediatric orthopedic surgery and sports medicine, has treated an uptick in these injuries over the past decade of his 20-year career.

Kids today are more likely to participate in traveling year-round leagues and less likely to gather for pickup games at their neighborhood park -- a more common occurrence for kids growing up in previous generations, Reinhart said.

Growing bones are less resilient to stress, putting children and teens at increased risk for overuse injuries. If the condition is not treated, it could cause deformity of the limb and permanent disability, the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine warns.

Overuse or repetitive stress injuries result from over- stressing muscles, joints, tendons and bones. Examples

include tennis elbow, swimmer's shoulder, youth pitching elbow, runner's knee, Achilles tendinitis and shin splints. …

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