How can we better address specialization and injury in youth sports?
Today’s elite athletes are stronger, faster, and more skilled than ever before, but they may also be at higher risk of injury than previous generations. Youth sport specialization and year-round seasons are associated with overuse injuries that are increasingly plaguing athletes at all levels. Professor David Bell, Director of the Wisconsin Injury in Sports Lab, studies these issues. His research has been published widely and was recently highlighted in the ESPN story, "'These Kids are Ticking Time Bombs': The Threat of Youth Basketball". Professor Bell suggests that coaches and parents can better support the development of healthy athletes by delaying sport specialization as long as possible and by allowing adequate time for rest and recovery. Professor Bell notes that college-level coaches and leaders can use their platforms to promote healthier models of youth sport.