Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
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Monroe Carell Jr.
Children's Hospital
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Nashville, TN 37232

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Overuse Injury


Recommendations for preventing overuse injuries

Over-training among young athletes is a growing problem in the U.S. Nearly half of all sports-related injuries to middle and high school student athletes are a result of overuse. Many children participate in sports year-round and play on multiple teams simultaneously. Both are risk factors for overuse injuries.

  • Risk of overuse injuries in young athletes is higher than adults because their bones are less capable of handling stress.
  • Children and teens should take time off from organized or structured sports participation one or two days per week to rest their bodies.
  • Allow scheduled breaks from training and competition every two to three months while focusing on other activities and cross-training to prevent loss of skill or conditioning.
  • Teach athletes to be in tune with their bodies for cues to slow down or to alter their training methods.
  • Advise athletes that the weekly training time, number of repetitions, or total distance should not increase by more than 10 percent each week.
  • Choose age-appropriate sports. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends children be at least six years old for team sports.
  • Stay well hydrated. Dehydration leads to fatigue and increased chance of injury.
  • Learn and follow proper skill techniques and mechanics for your sport.  
  • Keep your child focused on the important parts of sport: fun with friends, developing new skills, and learning sportsmanship

Learn more about overuse injuries

Last Edited: February 1, 2017
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