When Athletes Overtrain – Boston Answers for Kids


Athletic trainer Sean Cameron and a young athlete perform a workout that builds strength, mobility and balance.
Sports medicine physicians and athletic trainers play an important role in helping athletes participate in sports in a safe and rewarding way. (Photos: Karen Elsner, Boston Children’s Hospital)

As youth sports become more structured and results focused, sports medicine professionals have seen an increasing number of sports injuries in younger patients. he is Early sports specialization Blame?

“Specializing in one sport is not necessarily a cause for concern,” he says. Andrea Straciolini, MDMD, director of sports medicine medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital. “Athletes can benefit from the ability to focus, set goals, and achieve them.”

However, practicing one sport throughout the year often goes hand in hand with overtraining. Straciolini and a team of Boston Children’s researchers found it Athletes who do one sport train nearly twice as many hours per week As participants in more than one sport. Those who spent more time training were more likely to be injured.

What can doctors and coaches do when they see young athletes doing big training loads?

Here she is and the injury prevention specialist Sean Cameron Offer tips to help doctors and coaches reduce the risk of injury to athletes.

Understand the link between growth and injury

“Have there been any growth spurts recently?” This is one of the first questions Cameron asks the injured athletes who come to her Micheli Sports Injury Prevention Center (part of Sports Medicine Division) as part of their recovery.

All children and teens go through periods of rapid growth. However, for athletes, growth spurts can increase the risk of injury. Until their muscles, tendons, and ligaments are damaged, athletes are more susceptible to strain and tear, even when performing the movements they practice hundreds of times.

Dr. Andrea Straciolini stands by several models of orthotics for some joints that get overtrained.
Andrea Straciolini, MD: “As clinicians, I think our job is to think about every component of the injury.”

“Periods of rapid growth often coincide with increased training volume,” says Dr. Straciolini. Whether it’s a school team or a club, levels of competition and training tend to increase in middle school and again in high school, which are common times for teenage growth. We know these are high-risk periods. We need to carefully monitor these athletes and shift the focus of their training as they grow.”

Signs of overtraining

  • Recurrent or multiple injuries
  • Overuse injuries that don’t heal
  • decrease in athletic performance
  • constant fatigue

Excessive sports treatment

Years of caring for injured athletes prompted Dr. Straciolini to adjust her clinical approach.

Recommendations for safe youth sports

  • Limit participation in one sport to less than eight months per year.
  • Participate in only one organized team or league at a time.
  • She participates in a variety of sports throughout the year.
  • Take one to two days off from training each week.
  • Make sure that the number of training hours per week does not exceed the age of the athlete (a 10-year-old child should not train more than 10 hours per week).
  • Reducing the number and intensity of training during periods of rapid growth.

“At the beginning of my career, I focused on injuries from a purely musculoskeletal point of view. Now I think a lot about the whole player.” This includes talking with patients about things like nutrition, whether they are sleeping enough, their emotional well-being, and whether they have a supportive social group. Essentially, any factors that could have contributed to the current infection or increased the risk of a future infection.

“As clinicians, I think it’s our job to think about every component of the injury, especially as children specialize early and early.”

Education is another important component of her treatment approach. Athletes who know the finer details of their sport are often not well aware of the role of rest, proper nutrition and hydration in their health and wellness.

Excessive athletic training

A common myth among athletes of all ages is to equate strength training with weightlifting. Cameron (and his mathematicians) will tell you there is a better way.

“Anyone new to strength and conditioning needs to learn the proper technique first. Young or inexperienced athletes need to work on balance, coordination, fine motor skills, flexibility, and mobility. When it comes to strength training, body weight and functional resistance exercises are very effective.”

Sean Cameron with a range of training tools he uses to help athletes recover from overtraining injuries.
Sean Cameron: “Most athletes are open to doing what it takes to improve, as long as they feel involved in the process.”

While designing training programs for individual athletes based on their inconsistency and lack of strength, it also looks for less visible signs of overtraining, such as a loss of confidence, Burnt, or fatigue. In such cases, the athlete may be referred to a mental skills specialist at the Micheli Center. Athletes who have declining performance or who have a chronic injury may need to take time off from their sport while they recover.

Sports Specialization: Updates from the Experts

Sunday 25 September 2022
Learn more about the latest research in the early sports specialty and injury prevention at 2022 Michelle lecturean all-day conference hosted by the Sports Medicine Department.
visit Conference and registration page.

He says athletes rarely back down when he recommends a time off from sports. “Most athletes are open to doing what it takes to improve, as long as they feel involved in the process.”

Unfortunately, the current sports culture promotes early sports specialization and overtraining as a means to achieving athletic success. As long as such misconceptions prevail, athletes will remain at risk of being prevented Overuse injuries. Sports medicine physicians and athletic trainers play an important role in helping these athletes participate in sports in a safe and rewarding way.

Learn more about Sports Medicine Division And the Micheli Sports Injury Prevention Center.


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