What the Super Bowl Teaches About Kids Specializing in ONE SPORT?

As many of you know, I am a college football fan and have been ever since attending LSU for Physical Therapy school in the mid 90’s. We were not that great back then, but the games were always the best thing on your book for the fall. Lets just say I almost failed my PT boards because of my desire to go tailgate for a LSU game later that day, but thats another story.

So as huge of a college fan as I am, I do not care for the NFL and stopped watching 4-5 years ago. Trust me, because of Facebook, I know exactly how my hometown New Orleans Saints have performed during each and every game, every detail! So the Super Bowl is not that interesting to me and it is only on if my oldest son turns it on. He did come make me watch the last few minutes of the 4th and the OT of the recent Super Bowl and it was quite amazing. Then a few days later I saw a blog about how many players in the Super Bowl played 2 sports while in high school and I was amazed, in a great way… More about that in a bit…

The theme I see a lot now is to have a young athlete specialize in one sport based on what everyone thinks is his or her best sport and all resources and time go into that sport, ALL IN!!!

So here is an example for you: So little Johnny is the next Drew Brees according to everyone, including the coaches, parents and community. So he is going to start (or continue) playing football year round at 8 or 9 years old and start training with private coaches and fitness professionals. I have seen it! Then by the time lil Johnny is in high school, he is injured constantly! First it’s the knees, then the back, then the arm and hand and so on and so on! Yeah he has huge quads and can squat a house, but did that help him from tearing his meniscus in his knee? Unfortunately not and may have even caused it.

So back to the Super Bowl:

According to TrackingFootball.com, 88.7 percent of the players from the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons played multiple sports in high school. That includes 52.8 percent who also were basketball players, 47.2 percent who also competed in track and field and 18.9 percent who also played baseball.

Broken down by team, 92.5 percent of the New England Patriots roster played multiple sports, led by 58.5 percent basketball players and 43.4 percent track athletes. Among the Atlanta Falcons, 84.9 percent played multiple sports, led by 50.9 percent track athletes and 47.2 percent basketball players.

I was really impressed with these numbers and would encourage all parents to encourage their kids to play multiple sports in high school.

Now back to the injuries:

Dr James Andrews had this to say about the spike in injuries to adolescent athletes:

“Specialization leads to playing the sport year-round. That means not only an increase in risk factors for traumatic injuries but a sky-high increase in overuse injuries. Almost half of sports injuries in adolescents stem from overuse.”

Who is Dr Andrews? Dr. Andrews, who has practiced medicine for nearly 40 years, is most famous for his ability to put professional athletes back together. These athletes — notably, a who’s who of quarterbacks — have signed contracts for a combined total well north of $1 billion after his surgeries. In 2010, Andrews was the only doctor to be named among the top 40 most powerful people in the NFL by Sports Illustrated.

Read the article on Dr Andrews here =>

Do you have a young athlete that is always complaining about aches and pains?

Are your kids asking to play just one sport?

Do you need a medical professional to talk to your spouse or family friend encouraging sports specialization?

Give us a Call at 512-215-4227 for learn more.

Does your child athlete need an Assessment of any nagging aches and pains? Click HERE to apply for a FREE Discovery Session and you and your child can be seen by our expert Physical Therapist and ask any questions that you want.

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Stephen Dunn

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