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More athletes sidelined with overuse injuries

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Doctors at the sports medicine clinic of Children's Hospital in Boston say many young athletes hobble in daily. The cause: playing too hard, too often. Swimmers have sore shoulders. Tennis players clutch their backs. Soccer players have leg pains. They have overuse injuries, a rising health crisis that can destroy promising careers.

Kids of all ages dream of college scholarships or the riches of professional sports. Parents and coaches should protect them. Instead, they encourage kids to push themselves. No one is guiding them.

The trend toward sport specialization is partly responsible. Young athletes are often channeled to one sport that they play year-round. That improves skills but adds to wear and tear. Baseball pitchers are especially at risk. Situations parents should watch for:

* Increased training. Many injuries occur when practice time is cranked up to additional days or hours per week.

* Growth spurts. As kids grow, muscles can become less flexible and more susceptible to injury. Parents should watch for rapid growth periods and suggest backing off intense training during these periods.

* Muscle imbalances. Playing one sport throughout the year can develop certain muscles as others remain weak. Consider a balanced conditioning program.

* Minor pains. Don't assume they will just go away. Check them out before they become major problems.

Long Island Safety Articles > More athletes sidelined with overuse injuries

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