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Experts: Specializing in one sport at early age may not be good for kids

July 22,2016 11:24

DENVER -- If your kids are involved in sports, you know there can be pressure to have them specialize in one sport at an early age. Nicole Elliott, a mom, said, “I think kids are being told they won't be good enough. I think they're being told there ...



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DENVER -- If your kids are involved in sports, you know there can be pressure to have them specialize in one sport at an early age.
Nicole Elliott, a mom, said,  “I think kids are being told they won't be good enough.  I think they're being told there won't be a spot on the team.  They can't take a season off.”
But many doctors now say don’t buy into that.  Just wait. “There aren't studies showing sports specialization leads to greater success. What we do know is it leads to greater rates of burn-out in adolescent athletes. We know it leads to increased risk of overuse injuries,” said Dr. Greg Canty, a sports medicine specialist.
That’s something Nicole Elliott’s family had to learn the hard way.
Her daughter Katie is rehabbing after she tore her ACL playing soccer.  Before that, she’d also suffered a stress fracture twice in her other leg, and she’s just 14.
“I realized wow, I'm putting a lot of stress on my bones and my muscles,” Katie said.  Katie doesn’t know if she’ll play soccer again.  She had played eight months of the year, running track along with soccer in the spring.  Experts say if you participate more than eight months in a sport and exclude other sports, that’s specialization.  They say there is a better way.
Consider this story.
Riley Pint played baseball three months in the summer, then he’d take time off before starting the basketball season.
As he grew older, he played more baseball, becoming a star pitcher at his high school.  It wasn’t until his senior year that Riley just played baseball.
College coaches and pro scouts had been watching. “They loved the fact that Riley played multiple sports just 'cause they knew he wasn't throwing year-round, was using other muscles of his body,” Neil Pint said of his son.
In fact Riley’s name was the fourth called at this year’s major league baseball draft by the Colorado Rockies.

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