Use Young Athletes Age "2" Prevent Overuse Injuries
Do you know your child's age in years?
Can you remember the number "2"?
Those basic pieces of information allow you to make key decisions that can reduce the risk of overuse injuries in your young athlete.
If the number of hours of organized sport activity per week exceed the number of years of the age of a young athlete, then there is a statistically higher chance of suffering a serious overuse injury.
If the ratio of organized sports to free play is greater than 2:1, then there is a statistically higher chance of suffering a serious overuse injury.
Pretty simple. Pretty easy to remember. Pretty easy to put into practice.
Thanks to Sports-Specialized Intensive Training and the Risk of Injury in Young Athletes: A Clinical Case-Control Study by trusted colleagues Neeru Jayanthi, Cynthia LaBella and their co-authors in Chicago, these simple decision rules can now provide evidence-based guidance to an area where concrete recommendations were sorely lacking. Over 800 injured 7-18 year-old athletes who were treated at two sports medicine clinics were compared to similar aged healthy children who came to the same clinics for pre-participation sports physicals.
Now, what are organized sports?
Any sport activity which is organized and supervised by an adult.
This does include games, practices, conditioning, speed training, weight training, and individual skills training sessions. Probably fair to extrapolate to technique courses, choreography courses, rehearsals, and individual skills sessions for dancers and other performers.
Not only do we get those two helpful decision rules from these findings, but also an emphatic reminder of the value of free play in the safe development of young athletes.
That's another simple thing to remember and put into regular practice.