By: Nora Gilman, Director of Recovery & Performance

High school athlete injury rates are on the rise. A study conducted from the Kinesiology Department at UW-Madison zoomed in on the issue and examined athletes that play one sport-- a cohort that is gaining considerable attention in the sports injury realm. 

Earlier this year, director of this study, Timothy McGuine Ph.D., ATC and researchers across departments produced an award-winning study examining whether or not more young people are focussing their efforts on excelling in a single sport, instead of playing multi sports and how that might influence risk of injury.

This one-year observational study found that 34% of the hundreds of subjects  were considered highly specialized, meaning that they trained in one sport for more than eight months in a year. The researchers also determined that these athletes were more likely to report a history of knee and hip injuries. Additionally, specialized athletes were twice as likely to sustain a gradual onset or repetitive use injuries than athletes who did not specialize. Which athletes most at risk? Soccer.

Its important to understand how to fix this issue. However, challenging, when there is more pressure to specialize in one sport to compete with their own teammates and other athletes for college scholarship. These athletes find themselves competing year-round, stressing the same muscles and movements, and predisposed to the symptoms of burnout. Researchers and sports medicine professionals suggest including more variety into athletes choice in activity. Unfortunately, this solution is hardly a viable option for most.

"We cannot expect our current reactive health-care model to turn this injury paradigm shift around. Our professionals at RXSR encourage proper recovery and injury maintenance to help curb this statistic and keep your high school athlete in the game."- Nora Gilman, RXSR

Assistant Professor of Kinesiology, David Bell in lab.

Assistant Professor of Kinesiology, David Bell in lab.

Is your child at risk? Check out this check list to see how they relate to subjects in the study:

  1.  Highly Specialized- “yes” to at least four of the following six questions: 1) Do you train more than 75 percent of the time in your primary sport?; 2) Do you train to improve skill and miss time with friends as a result?; 3) Have you quit another sport to focus on one sport?; 4) Do you consider your primary sport more important than your other sports?; 5) Do you regularly travel out of state for your primary sport?; 6) Do you train more than eight months a year in your primary sport? 
  2.  Large school
  3. Participate for club and high school teams
  4.  Female (specialize 41%) as opposed to male (28%)
  5.  Female players: if you participate in (1) Soccer (2) Softball (3) Volleyball (4) Basketball, or Male players: (1) Soccer (2) Basketball (3) Tennis (4) Wrestling

If your child is at least two of these items, come talk to us at Rx Sports Recovery about a recovery and prevention plan that is tailored to individual needs.