Scott: Sixteen-year-old track star Umoja Robinson runs for Teaneck High School in New Jersey and trains by running ten miles a day.
Umoja Robinson: Seven days a week. Whatever the weather is, got to run.
Scott: But now his doctor has ordered him off the track because of a stress fracture – small cracks in bones usually caused by doing the same movement over and over again.
Doctor: Show me exactly with one finger where the majority of the pain is.
Scott: A new study found that young athletes who specialize and train in one sport are more likely to suffer stress fractures and other serious overuse injuries.
Dr. Jason Baynes: This injury usually occurs when a person has been doing the same activity over and over again for a period of 9-12 months.
Scott: Loyola University researchers studied more than 1,200 young people between 8-18 years old and found young athletes were more likely to be injured if they spent more than twice as much time playing organized sports as they spent in unorganized free play. For example, playing eleven hours of organized soccer each week and only five hours of free play, such as pick-up games. Experts say children and teens are more prone to getting hurt while playing sports because their bodies are still growing and can’t tolerate the repeated stress. Dr. Baynes encourages young athletes to take at least one day off from training each week.
Dr. Baynes: Take at least a month off between seasons. To let your body fully recuperate after a long season, take – when I say a month, roughly roughly 3-4 weeks.
Scott: He also recommends that children and teens should not play sports for more hours than their age each week. So when Robinson fully recovers, he should not run more than 16 hours per week.
Robinson: There is no worse feeling than not being able to be out there with your team.
Scott: Scott Evans, Channel One News.
- Why are younger athletes especially vulnerable to certain injuries?
- What are the most important components of any training regimen?