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.
Chase is only a few months away from fulfilling a lifelong dream; playing college football. It’s a dream thousands of other kids across the country will be living out this fall — but they aren’t like Chase.
“The first time I saw Chase was in 2000,” says Dr. Peter Waters, Orthopedic Surgeon-in-Chief and director of the Brachial Plexus Program at Boston Children’s. “He was six months old when his parents brought him in, and had a severe brachial plexus injury to his right side.” To correct this nerve injury that occurs during birth, Chase would undergo nerve surgery on his arm in 2001, and another two surgeries on his shoulder in 2003. He would continue to need life-long physical therapy as he grew and will always have limited use of his right arm. …
Labral tears are a common injury in the hip, particularly with young athletes who may have underlying hip anatomy issues, such as hip dysplasia or impingement. Treatment for labral tears can range from rest and physical therapy to open surgery, with time away from sports spanning from days to weeks, or even months.
It’s important that any individual experiencing hip pain see a physician as soon as possible in order to limit pain and damage to the hip. Dr. Young-Jo Kim, a pediatric and young adult orthopedic hip specialist at Boston Children’s Hospital Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Center, discusses the causes of labral tears and his philosophy for treatment of this injury in young athletes.
An ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) tear is a devastating injury that can end an athlete’s season and sometimes take up to a year to fully recover. Along with the pain and long rehab process, it also carries the consequences of a high rate of re-tear and increased risk for osteoarthritis. But what if you could decrease your risk of getting this injury, just by doing certain exercises for 20 minutes two times per week?
Dr. Dai Sugimoto, director of clinical research at The Micheli Center for Sports Injury Prevention at Boston Children’s Hospital, has focused his research on training regimens that help prevent ACL injuries. Through extensive study, Sugimoto has found specific exercises that have been shown to decrease the rate of ACL injuries for female athletes.