I had my uncle and his family over for dinner last week.  Knowing the profession I’m in, he asked me if I could help his 11 year old son with his hurting shoulder, hurting from baseball.

I asked him how often he’s playing and he told me” well we just finished summer club ball, but will be starting fall/winter club ball next week, where we have 2 practices a week then have tournaments all weekend long.  Then in the spring we start Little League play with practice 3-4 week with games 2 times a week, but have practice for spring club ball before the games for Little League, then have tournaments all weekend for club ball with some practices for Little League in between club ball tournaments, then we start it all over again with summer club ball all summer”.

All I could say is, “WHY”!!!

He began to tell me that if his son doesn’t play on the club team, he can’t make the coaches team in Little League and vice-versa for the club team.

I told him that maybe his son needs to take a break and let his shoulder rest for a season and play another sport like soccer.  He didn’t agree.

Now we haven’t kept specific data on the subject, but in our business not only have we seen first hand the increased incidence of repetitive type injuries like shoulder tendinitis, tennis elbow, ankle sprains,  and knee pain in our young athletes due to single-sport specialization, but we continue to see increases in major injuries like ACL tears or rotator cuff tears, requiring surgery.

We have always advocated for our clients to participate in multiple sports because it develops the “whole” athlete, prevents over-use and injury due to repetitive movements, utilizes different energy systems per each sport, and prevents “burn-out”.  And many sports actually “cross-over”.  For instance, the torque generated from the ground, through the hips and torso, through the arms in the act of punching in boxing can “cross-over” to the swinging of bat in baseball or the swinging of the racquet in tennis.

Research seems to confirm our position.  We’ve linked to a great article regarding this subject and a great read for any parent with children playing organized sport.