A New York Times article, “Doctors See a Big Rise in Injuries As Young Athletes Train Nonstop” highlights a serious and growing health concern for teenagers and their parents. Typical injuries include stress fractures, cracked kneecaps and frayed heel tendons and damage to the alignment of the spinal column brought on by excessive flexing. As the article states, “…doctors in pediatric sports medicine say it is as if they have happened upon a new childhood disease, and the cause is the overaggressive culture of organized youth sports.”
The consequences of this new “disease” can be very serious, often requiring many months of expensive rehabilitation or even surgery. Some young athletes are left facing a lifetime of pain and physical restrictions.
The article emphasized the role played by pressure from coaches and parents and by a culture in many sports that places so much emphasis on performance, and on winning, that players often ignore the pain signals coming from their bodies.