Medical Minute 9-23: Kids in Sports: All Pain, No Gain

By: Ramin Khalili Email
By: Ramin Khalili Email

Over-use. Over-load. Over-stress.

"I've had ankle sprains, quads, back, shoulder...head."

Teen soccer standout Alicia Wolfe isn't the only one hurting. High school athletes account for two million injuries, 500,000 hospital visits and 30,000 hospital stays each year, and the patients are only getting younger.

"In baseball players I see pitchers 9 years old come in with overuse injuries," said Joel Shawl, M.D., Sports Medicine Physician.

"You're always using the same muscles, the same body parts over and over again leading to overuse," said Jeff Sczpanski Head Athletic Trainer.

There are limits. Experts say kids under 9 shouldn't run more than two miles a day. From ages 12-14 - that increases to six miles. In a sport like baseball - a 9-year-old pitcher shouldn't toss more than 75 balls a game. Boost that to 95 for 16-year-olds. Pushing the limits means major injuries for athletes like Alicia down the road.

"I think the whole concept of 'no pain, no gain' has been a big problem and that's where a lot of this has come from," said Joel Shawl, M.D.

Sports medicine doctor Joel Shawl at Grant Hospital in Columbus says the taut hamstrings and strong quads in a soccer player could lead to hip, knee, and back problems.

"A lot of the problems in baseball are back strain," said Joel Shawl, M.D.

Basketball, ankle and knee injuries may mean arthritis. Playing through pain is really just post-poning that pain for another day.

For More Information, Contact:STOP Sports Injury Organization The American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine 321-3500

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