Hard cast ankle braces. Knee bands. Ice packs. Wrist braces. These are what I saw at the last few youth sporting events I went to. Fifteen year olds completely geared out to prevent injury or to coverup a reoccurring one. Here are the stats on injuries and success among multi-sport and sport-specific athletes.
Statistics on injury rates in single sport vs multi-sport athletes.
Success amongst multi-sport athletes.
Being a sport-specific athlete isn’t inherently bad. They do not have a money-back-guarantee to get injured but they need more work than the same motion. If a high or younger athlete only wants to play one sport they NEED (not should or it would help) to be trained in a broad, inclusive fitness. Whether it’s personal training or in a group fitness class, those kids need strength work, they need running technique, they need increased body awareness beyond their sport.
The human body is not meant to repetitively do the same motion. Throwing a ball, running in a straight line, jump max effort, swing a club. All of these movements are fine, encouraged, but when focused exclusively on lead to the statistics previously listed, particularly in a developing teen and pre-teen. Inclusive and broad movements are necessary to be healthy and better athletes. Inclusive meaning, multi-joint encompassing. Movements that challenge multiple muscle groups and multiple joints to achieve the range of motion. Broad meaning using the entire spectrum of human movement.
What this means for young athletes and parents: FIND A STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING COACH. Find a coach that teaches quality movement, has a background in athletics, uses multiple tools (barbells, bands, etc) and can explain what they do and why.