Stories about: Ask the Expert

Sports specialization and injury risk for young athletes

Kocher sports specialization Thriving blog

In recent years, sports specialization has become a hot topic amongst both parents of young athletes and medical professionals. There are a lot of questions swirling around early specialization: When should my child begin to focus on just one sport year-round? Are there injury risks associated with specialization? Does specializing in one sport provide a significant benefit for their skill development?

While answers to these questions aren’t always straightforward, in a recent study Dr. Mininder Kocher, an orthopedic surgeon and associate director of the Boston Children’s Hospital Sports Medicine Division, found some compelling evidence of the risks of early sports specialization.

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Retro parenting: Three things we should go back to doing

Children playing in the mud

The world is a different place than it was when I grew up in the 1960s and 1970s. Mostly, that’s a good thing. There are so many ways that technology has made life easier and better, the internet has brought knowledge to our fingertips and connections that span the world — and as a physician, I am grateful for all the life-saving discoveries of the past few decades.

However, when it comes to parenting, not all the changes have been good.

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Managing autoinflammatory diseases in children

Yoga and relaxation can be beneficial to children with autoinflammatory diseases

Autoinflammatory diseases are a group of rare illnesses that cause recurrent episodes of fever and inflammation resulting from inappropriate activation of the immune system. While some have unknown causes, autoinflammatory diseases are often caused by genetic mutations. Symptoms include acute episodes of fever and other symptoms such as joint pain, rash, sores in the mouth, enlarged glands or abdominal pain, depending on their underlying illness.

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Esophageal atresia: Sorting fact from fiction

esophageal atresia

Will a diagnosis of esophageal atresia affect my child’s weight? Are recurrent respiratory infections normal? How long should my child stay on proton-pump inhibitors?

As the patient coordinator for the Esophageal and Airway Treatment Center at Boston Children’s Hospital, Dori Gallagher, RN, fields questions like these every day from patients around the world concerned about their children with esophageal atresia. In this condition, a baby is born without part of the esophagus (the tube that connects the mouth to the stomach). Instead of forming a tube between the mouth and the stomach, the esophagus grows in two separate segments that do not connect. Without a working esophagus, it’s impossible to receive enough nutrition by mouth. Babies with esophageal atresia are also more prone to infections like pneumonia and conditions such as acid reflux.

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