Study: Sports Specialization Increases Injury Risk

Source: The Washington Post

FNF Coaches recently attended the USA Football National Conference in Orlando, Fla., and throughout the weekend, we spoke with a number of coaches about a variety of different topics. One common theme among coaches was that they prefer their athletes play multiple sports.

We found that interesting — as many of the coaches were just starting their offseason strength and conditioning programs — and we figured they might prefer maximum attendance in their respective programs. Instead, many coaches said they preferred to see their football players compete in other sports during the spring season.

A recent study by the National Federation of High School Associations shows that might be a wise coaching philosophy — at least from a health and safety perspective.

High school athletes who specialize in a single sport are 70 percent more likely to suffer an injury during their playing season than those who play multiple sports, according to a study released late last month commissioned by the National Federation of High School Associations.

Researchers from the University of Wisconsin measured the rate of specialization — meaning an athlete significantly sacrificed time with friends or family or participation in other sports — among 1,544 athletes in Wisconsin and tracked lower-extremity injuries. The study found athletes who specialized suffered those injuries “at significantly higher rates” than those who do not.

For more on this story, visit The Washington Post.

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