Overtraining Little Athletes
With many kids playing and training for organized sports with an intensity once reserved for top-level athletes, doctors are learning more about the lasting impact sports injuries can have on kids' health.
Concussions have become a major concern, particularly in high school football, girls' soccer, and basketball, prompting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to develop a program for coaches, parents, players, and doctors to help them spot signs of concussions. Doctors have also sounded an alarm about overuse injuries like shin splints and Little-League elbow, which have emerged as kids continue to specialize in sports at younger ages. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) issued prevention guidelines and recommended, among other things, that kids play a variety of sports and take adequate time off between seasons and training sessions.
What To Watch:
With new evidence of how widespread and damaging youth sports injuries can be, many parents might have to examine whether they're allowing kids to push too hard to excel at sports. With this growing awareness, there could be a return to the fundamentals of youth sports — helping kids learn sportsmanship and teamwork; helping them develop a lifelong love of physical activity; and, most important, letting them have fun.
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Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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