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Sport Specialization Tied to Increased Risk of Injury in Kids and Teens

Children and teens who specialize in one sport may be more likely to get injured than those who play a variety of sports, a new study suggests. Researchers examined data from five previously published studies with a total of about 5,600 athletes age 18 or younger.

Compared to athletes who played the widest variety of sports, youth who specialized the most were 81 percent more likely to experience an overuse injury, the study found.

“Being a highly specialized athlete means that you can identify a primary sport, you train more than eight months/year for that sport, and you have quit other sports to focus on your primary sport or have only ever played your primary sport,” said study leader David Bell of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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Athlete Health