• By Jason Howland

Mayo Clinic Minute: Why kids shouldn’t specialize in one sport

October 21, 2019

Playing the same sport for an entire year and nothing else. It's called "sports specialization." And it could be causing harm to your child's body, according to Dr. Anikar Chhabra, a Mayo Clinic orthopedic surgeon.

Watch: The Mayo Clinic Minute

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"We're seeing a huge epidemic of injuries in kids nowadays, and I think a big reason is sports specialization," says Dr. Chhabra. "Kids are playing sports — the same sport — at a much younger age, and they're playing on multiple teams. So they're not giving the chance for their body to recover and rest."

Practicing and competing in one sport year-round can cause the body to wear down, and create overuse injuries and muscle imbalances.

"It's like going to the gym and doing the same exercise, the same lift every day until you get hurt. They're not giving a chance for their body to develop and grow," says Dr. Chhabra.

It also increases the risk of burnout and quitting sports altogether.

"The biggest prevention tip I'll give patients and their parents is take three months off from your sport. Do other sports in the offseason," says Dr. Chhabra.

So encourage your kid to tackle different athletic activities throughout the year, and don't forget to take a few timeouts.

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