Kids Playing Hurt?

I got a Facebook note today that said

“I was at 2 AAU girls basketball tournaments over the last 2 weeks and was amazed at the number of teenage girls wearing knee braces, ankle braces, etc. What do you think about this”

First off, every sport should be seasonal. More and more we see that kids are being presured to play one sport year round. The gurus tell them they need to do this or they will fall behind. This is one big fat lie motivated by money. Youth sports people need you to play year round so they don’t have to get another job.

If your son or daughter needs a brace or a patella tendon strap or any other device to play, what he or she really needs is some time away. The best cure for these problems would be a different sport. The number one enemy of any athlete is pattern overload. That simply means doing the same thing over and over again.

The next thing to worry about is the tournament culture. Again in order to make money the tournament organizers need teams to play multiple games per day. This is not normal and is not good for the young developing body. No collegiate or profesional athlete plays multiple games per day like kids do.

If your son or daughter complains of joint pain, don’t take them to the Dr. Take yourself to the psychiatrist. You probably need your head examined.

12 Responses to “Kids Playing Hurt?”

  1. Brian McEvoy Says:

    Excellent observation. This is a topic that really should be addressed at the youth and high school level. I help run a lifting program for a high school football team and you wouldn’t believe the amount of young athletes that have shoulder problems from throwing all summer and winter long getting ready for baseball. Student with out time to workout because they have basketball practice after lacrosse practice. The old adage practice make perfect is now being beaten into young athletes, while strength, flexibility and speed training have become secondary measures squeezed in to their busy schedule once a week if their lucky

  2. mboyle1959 Says:

    Nick- I think you were lucky. Don’t gamble with luck.

  3. So true. In fact, I hadn’t realized the extent of this until you stated it. At practice today, a girl practiced with two braces, one supporting each knee. What does that say?

  4. Nick Loftenberg Says:

    I also think that this is a reflection of kids overall physical capacity and general preparedness.

    Right or wrong, when I was a kid, I can remember many a hockey tournament with 2 or in rare cases, 3 games, a day. Of course I had a lot of opportunity for free play during the week, and that was a time when a coach was more likely to “spread the wealth” vs. riding a select few players, but I never sustained any injuries or chronic issues (save for a separated should when I was hit from behind into the boards….an issue for another day).

    I am not disagreeing one bit that boys and girls shouldn’t be slotted into a year-round grinder and should be given time off or directed toward another sport if issues crop up (although hopefully it doesn’t get to that point). While I realize my example may represent an exception, I have to think that kids suffer from today’s lifestyle even more so than any particular sport itself. Either that or it was a minor miracle that me and the guys I played hockey with growing up were either anomalies or beyond lucky enough to have emerged unscathed.

  5. Just emailed this to several people who I’ve been saying this to over and over!

  6. mboyle1959 Says:

    Josh- think recovery workouts. Stretching, rolling, activation etc.

  7. I think you hit this right on the head. I am dealing with this with some of the track athletes that only do 1 or 2 field events and they come to my athletic conditioning class and complain about joints being sore and tired, and frustrated why the other teams sophomores are beating them. They say they practice for 2 hours a day doing High Jump or triple jump.I keep telling them to try a new event and take a day off from jumping or throwing the shot. The track coaches want them to not dress down for my athetic class so they can do more of the same excersises that is creating the pain in the first place. Any advice on what I can present to the coaches?


  8. Mike,
    I chuckled at that last two sentences. Well said and bears constant repeating.
    Bruce Kelly

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