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Survey: 1 in 3 Kids Hurt Playing Sports

Simple Prevention Can Help Kids Play It Safe

Overuse Injuries in Children

The new report also focuses on overuse injuries. "Kids need a break from sports," says Carr. If they play a year-round sport, take one season off to prevent overuse injuries. It helps to take one or two days off a week from the sport during the regular season, too. "Do something else instead," she says.

The rise in overuse injuries in kids is due to early specialization in one sport and year-round sports, says Jordan Metzl, MD. He is a sports medicine doctor at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City. "Your injury rate goes up if you only play one sport."

For example, year-round baseball players tend to get shoulder and elbow injuries at a much higher rate than kids who play different sports throughout the year.

Kids should never play through pain, he says.

"Sports specialization has made some kids excellent at certain sports and alienated certain kids who aren't as good," he says. "Sports for kids should be about fun, activity, and exercise, and if they are getting hurt or not having fun, they will become discouraged."

This is particularly important due the high rates of childhood obesity and an inactive lifestyle. "We know that kids who are involved in sports do better in school, have higher self-esteem, do better with friends, and end up being healthy adolescents and adults," Metzl says.

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