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Kids Specializing in One Sport More Likely to Get Hurt: Study
Date:5/2/2011

By Amanda Gardner
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, May 2 (HealthDay News) -- Kids who focus on one sport to the exclusion of others end up getting injured more often, new research suggests.

In fact, those who devoted themselves to only one athletic pursuit were almost twice as likely to get hurt as those who played multiple sports, said senior study author Dr. Neeru Jayanthi, medical director of primary care sports medicine at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.

"We saw a pretty significant difference with this intensity of training, along with specialization," said Jayanthi. The findings are slated to be presented Monday at the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine annual meeting in Salt Lake City. Research presented at medical meetings should be viewed as preliminary.

"It's been accepted for the last five years or so that kids who are not super-specific do better. They're cross-trained, so they're conditioned for other movements," said Dr. Kory Gill, an assistant professor at Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine.

Jayanthi's team had done research earlier on 519 junior tennis players that found those who only played tennis were more likely to be hurt.

But that was just one sport, and Jayanthi wanted to extend the findings to other athletic activities.

"As a physician, you get frustrated seeing kids come in with injuries that keep them out for two to three months. It's devastating," said Jayanthi, who recently saw a young gymnast with a knee injury which will keep her off the mat for at least three months.

Here, the researchers looked at 154 young athletes, average age 13, who played a variety of sports. Eighty-five of the participants came to the clinic for treatment for a sports injury, while 69 were just getting sports physicals.

The investigators then ranked each athlete on how specialized they were, basing the score on such factors as how
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