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More Kids Falling Prey to Sports Overuse Injuries
Date:4/9/2010

New campaign highlights need for education and prevention,,

FRIDAY, April 9 (HealthDay News) -- Nearly half of all sports injuries suffered by middle and high school-aged children are due to overuse -- and many of those injuries could have been prevented.

That's the message from the just-launched Stop Sports Injuries campaign, which is spearheaded by a coalition of doctors' groups and elite athletes, including professional golf legend Jack Nicklaus; former Major League Baseball pitching great John Smoltz; and University of Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford, the 2009 Heisman Trophy winner.

"There are a lot of factors behind the increase in overuse injuries, but the number one thing is specialization. Kids are being forced to choose one sport and they're playing it year-round," said Dr. James Andrews, an orthopedic surgeon, president of the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine and co-chairman of the Stop Sports Injuries campaign.

"Sports used to be seasonal. If you played youth baseball, you used to have the winter off. Now, people think playing all year is supposed to make you better, but more isn't always better," Andrews said.

Smoltz, who's now a TV sports broadcaster, agreed. "Growing up, I played all sports and loved every moment of it. I didn't feel like I had to compete in such a magnified way to get recruited or looked at. If you asked every other major leaguer, and other professional athletes, very few would say that they played their sport year-round," Smoltz said. "These kids need time to recover and play other sports," he added.

According to the Stop Sports Injuries campaign, the sports with the highest risk of overuse injuries for children are: baseball, basketball, cheerleading, dancing, football, gymnastics, running, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis and volleyball.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that high school athletes alone
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