RadioMD: Healthy Children

Sports Specialization: Safe for Young Athletes?

July 8, 20159 min
Is it better for your child athlete to focus on one sport or dabble in many different areas of athletics?If your child is interested in athletics, you may be thankful because of all the amazing health benefits that come with being active at such a young age. If he or she is showing an interest in several sports, you may think this is good thing too. But, it can actually backfire.In fact, many parents are turning to sports specialization.Sports specialization is defined as year-round training in one sport, with the exclusion of any other sport. Some believe that sports specialization isn't a good idea, since it involves intense training year-round and usually starts at a young age. Critics also point to psychological stress on your athlete, the increased risk of injury, or an increased risk of burnout/dropout.However, others believe it allows your child a chance to develop many skills (mental and physical) that they can use later in life and allows the potential for school scholarships.If you're interested in sports specialization, when is it safe and appropriate?Joel Brenner, MD, discusses sports specialization and whether or not it's safe for your child.

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