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Healthy Balance

Specializing In One Sport: Is It Safe for Kids?

kids specializing in one sport
Too much baseball puts stress on growing joints.

Central Virginia families are preparing to head back to school later this month. For many kids, sports will be a part of that back-to-school routine, whether they’re trying something new or already in high school football training.

But increasingly, experts are questioning whether specializing in one sport is safe for kids. Sports medicine specialist Winston Gwathmey, MD, believes youth sports emphasize health and fitness and teach valuable life lessons. But he’s also concerned some kids play too much of the same sport, leading to overuse injuries.

Baseball is a common culprit. “At age 11 or 12 years with a growing skeleton, they’re out there with their dad or their coaches throwing the ball as hard as they can with mechanics that aren’t very well developed,” he says. “It puts a lot of stress on the growing shoulder and the growing elbow.”

In this week’s podcast, Gwathmey discusses kids specializing in one sport. He offers injury prevention tips and cross-training recommendations. Listen to the podcast:

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