One-Sport vs. Multi-Sport Athletes: Who Wins?
Think specializing early in a single sport gives young athletes a competitive advantage? Not necessarily, according to Rick Nelson, CHI Health certified athletic trainer.
A Loyola University study found early specialization was one of the strongest predictors of injury. ”Athletes in the study who specialized were 70 to 93 percent more likely to be injured than children who played multiple sports,” Nelson said.
Children who specialize early have a far greater risk for burnout. “Those who commit to one sport at a young age are often the first to quit, and suffer a lifetime of consequences,” he said.
A Reality Check for Future Pros
Young athletes with big league dreams should consider this: one in 2,451 men’s high school basketball players get drafted by a National Basketball Association team, according to the National Collegiate Athletic Association.
Parents should help kids keep sports in perspective.
“Encourage your child in all aspects of their lives,” said Deanna Stickney, CHI Health certified athletic trainer. “College coaches are looking for the whole package. Talent is a necessity, but so are good grades, being coachable and more. They want athletes who will be successful in sports and school.”