WASHINGTON D.C. (WUSA9) -- A new study is showing that preventive measures need to be taken to ensure that young athletes are not seriously injured while training for a sport.
Loyola University Medical Center sports medicine physician, Dr. Neera Jayanthi, led a study at Loyola and Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago between 2010 and 2013. Dr. Jayanthi and his colleagues examined 1,206 athletes, ages 8 to 18 who came in for treatment for a sports injury.
The athletes' diagnosis was recorded for three years and with 859 total injuries, including 564 injuries from overuse, the study confirmed preliminary findings: specializing in a specific sport will increase the risk of overall injury.
Experts controlled for age, as well as the numbers of hour per week that the athlete participated in his/her respective sport.
Those athletes who spent an average of 21 hours per week in total physical activity, but 13 hours in organized sports, were more likely to be injured than those athletes who spent 17 hours per week in total physical activity and only 9 hours in organized sports.
"We should be cautions about intense specialization in one sport before and during adolescence," Jayanthi said
Dr. Jayanthi and his colleagues offer some tips to reduce the risk of serious injury in young athletes:
- Take at least one day off per week from training.
- Do not spend more hours per week than your age playing sports.
- Do not spend more than double the amount of time playing organized sports as you spend in a gym or participating in other athletic activities.
"We will be testing our hypothesis that many of these serious injuries are potentially preventable," said Jayanthi.
Dr. Jayanthi is a member of an American Medical Society for Sports Medicine committee, currently working on guidelines for the prevention and treatment of sports injuries in young adults.