Kids & Repetitive Motion Sports | by Brooke K Pengel, MD

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Posted on Fri, Nov 9, 2012

Brooke K Pengel, MD, Medical Director Rocky Mountain Youth Sports Medicine Institute Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children Centennial

Brooke K Pengel, MD

Brooke K Pengel, MD

What do parents need to look out for if their kids are in repetitive motion sports from a young age?

More kids are participating in team sports starting at a young age (14 and younger), and training and competing year round. This stresses the same muscles repeatedly without rest periods and leaves little time for recreational play, which is more relaxed and works a variety of muscles.

Competitive sports can cause repetitive motion injuries, over use injuries, and in extreme cases, tendinitis or stress fractures. In young kids, these symptoms are sometimes chalked up as growing pains. However, there are clear warning signs it’s something serious; pain, inability to finish practice or games, avoidance of an activity and certain movement patterns such as limping or declining performance that is unexplainable.

Kids should get at least one or two days of rest per week and a few months off per year that are not simultaneous, especially when playing multiple sports. Plenty of rest and balanced meals with lots of calcium to support their growing bodies is also very important as their attention span, muscles and coordination skills are still developing, as well as the chance to just enjoy being a kid.

More information is available in the American Academy of Pediatrics sports specialization policy statement.

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