Lack of Multi-Sport Athletes Leads to Overuse Injuries
In his recent article "The Perfect Storm", author Ron Wolforth describes how kids who play baseball are suffering a record number of overuse injuries from pitching. Brian Ruggles, team leader at IU Health Sports Performance and physical therapist cites today’s lack of the multi-sport athlete as a big part of the problem.
“There is a tremendous value on full athletic development, but few kids are playing multiple sports these days. So even though kids do more athletically, concentrating on a single sport, they don’t get out there and diversify strengths,” says Ruggles. “And developing other areas of strength that are key to mechanical movement, like core strength or core extremity strength, isn’t happening.”
“I’d say one of the biggest epidemics we have in all sports is kids who play one sport all year round,” agrees Dr. Robert Klitzman, sports medicine physician and orthopedic surgeon at IU Health. “If you’re doing one thing, year round, over and over, the body does not recover. You become overdeveloped in one area and underdeveloped in another, and your kinetic chain (the sequence of events that must take place in order for an athlete to throw) is out of balance so you’re more predisposed to injury.”
Steve Krzyminski, sports performance specialist at IU Health Sports Performance says, “Kids just aren’t prepared for the amount of strain put on their body,” he explains. “They go from doing nothing to doing 100% all the time.”
It becomes a never-ending cycle: kids are out of shape, sitting around during the off season. Then they’re pushed hard to go full speed during their sport season, which leads to injuries and needing to rest, then becoming out of shape again.
“We really need to find alternative ways for these kids to stay in shape and get stronger when they aren’t playing their sport,” says Krzyminski. “That’s the whole role of IU Health Sports Performance, or any sports performance facility: getting them in shape and helping them increase their physical capacity so they can stay injury free.”