OT: doctors and coaches worry that kids are playing too much basketball

Brooky03

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Your takeaway from the article was that all kids who play one sport will suffer major injuries?
For a serious-ish take, the problem doesn’t seem to be specialization; it’s volume. If you play basketball 250 days a year, your injury risk isn’t going to go down if you switch to football 125 days and basketball 125 days. Both sports require running, jumping, cutting, and contact. The muscles used and stresses on the joints are pretty much the same.

If you go with a baseball and basketball split, maybe you’ll fair better, but that’s a matter of volume, again. Baseball is 99.9% sitting and standing.
 

HOFCeluck

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The published data would seem to support that specialization independentenly increases the risk for injury.
 

hoopsupstate

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I helped in a program that won seven straight state championships in cross country. That coach encouraged his runners to play other sports in the winter and summer. They had very few injuries. When he left, the next coach continued the programs running success, but he encouraged year long running. His players had multiple stress fractures. A young athlete isn’t strong enough for the constant pounding of the same muscles and bones. Similar success, but different philosophies.
 

Brooky03

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Not really. It's no worse than watching baseball or golf or tennis.
In fact, there's a lot more action than in any of those 3 sports.
There's more movement. I don't know that there's more action.
 

Townie72

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Baseball is losing popularity in the U.S. Just look at the major leagues; it's more and more Latin American players.
That's true.

But so is soccer participation by 10%.
 

Eric15

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"When the season ended, Michael left and played golf and didn't pick up a basketball again until probably a little bit before training camp [in September]," says Wally Blase, a Bulls athletic trainer from 1993-2000. "He might have played pickup ball with some friends, but he wasn't working eight hours a day at some gym with some shooting coach." (And in contrast to the myth that has grown around him, Jordan, Blase notes, didn't treat every practice as if it were Game 7: "There were days when Michael would show up, put ice on his knees, go smoke a cigar and then go play 18 holes of golf.")
 

Newhouser

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The genie is out of the bottle on the one sport kid, who is an economy of his own. Special coaching and camps, year round travel, showcases, etc. A lot of people making money off a kid (or more likely his parents) with a dream of scholly or pay check. Only way to put the genie back is providing proof that it is dangerous.
 

Cusefan0307

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Better off listening to backyard Joe who plays BBall everyday over orthopedists IMO...Backyard joe hasn't been injured...
 

Hoo's That

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Anybody forcing a kid to pick a sport is a dbag.

But I see nothing wrong with it if the kid chooses to specialize. I played 3 sports through 8th grade. When high school started, I stuck with just football because it was the one sport I was good enough at to be a starter. I would have just played a few innings here and there in baseball and maybe like 10 minutes per game in basketball. Not worth it, when I could lift weights and do football specific stuff to get better at the sport I liked the most.

I managed to get through without becoming a cripple or dying, which sounds like something that would blow the minds of doctors I guess.
That's their point. A lot of kids are starting to concentrate on one sport before then. The fact that you continued to play the 3 sports for that long helped you avoid a lot of the injuries one-sport kids are getting now.
 

pfister1

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Prior to the age of 14, the most fun I ever had playing “baseball”(we used a tennis ball) was in my backyard with my dad, brother, and every kid that lived on our street.

*At the age of 12, I very vividly remember almost every single game in whatever league I played in being delayed by a shouting match between adults- all season long.
We had a fantastic neighborhood tennis ball league growing up. I had over 1000 career homeruns. I think my tennis ball “career” was roughly from age 10 to 13, but the memories of those times and the kids that played make it seem like a 20 year period of my life.

What I wouldn’t do to have another summer as a 12 year old!! Or 16...21...30 or 40 year old for that matter. Geez it sucks getting old.
 

Brooky03

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That's their point. A lot of kids are starting to concentrate on one sport before then. The fact that you continued to play the 3 sports for that long helped you avoid a lot of the injuries one-sport kids are getting now.
I was seeing 14 as the cutoff age. Technically by that rule, I was 'specialized' by 14. Point taken though.

From the research that's out there (the best I found was a compilation of smaller studies for a total sample of about 5,000), I'm still not convinced that it supports specialization as the cause. At least, not the main cause.

All of them seem to point to volume as the significant factor. The ones that attempt to keep volume a constant, don't differentiate the sports. Not all sports are created equal. Saying you're less likely to get hurt if you play baseball and golf for a while in between sports is not an argument in favor of non-specialization. It's an argument in favor of decreasing the amount of running and jumping you do.

They need to better identify and separate the contributing factors. If you're specialized, you're more likely to train longer and harder than if you weren't. If that's a fact, then training longer and harder seems to be the problem here.

Back to my example of basketball and football; the two most physically demanding sports. Does the research support that 5 months of basketball and 5 months of football is more or less dangerous than 10 months of just one? That answer is, at best, unclear from what I've read.
 

Brooky03

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I once knew a guy who smoked and didn’t get lung cancer, so smoking is probably fine.
Who's been making these anecdotal arguments? Anecdotal arguments are the worst. That's why I make a point to avoid them, instead going for (clearly) hyperbolic points for emphasis and humor.
 
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Brooky03

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"When the season ended, Michael left and played golf and didn't pick up a basketball again until probably a little bit before training camp [in September]," says Wally Blase, a Bulls athletic trainer from 1993-2000. "He might have played pickup ball with some friends, but he wasn't working eight hours a day at some gym with some shooting coach." (And in contrast to the myth that has grown around him, Jordan, Blase notes, didn't treat every practice as if it were Game 7: "There were days when Michael would show up, put ice on his knees, go smoke a cigar and then go play 18 holes of golf.")
Seems to support the idea that volume is the issue, yes?
 

Brooky03

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Better off listening to backyard Joe who plays BBall everyday over orthopedists IMO...Backyard joe hasn't been injured...
I think listening to doctors is probably smarter, no? Why would you rather listen to Backyard Joe?
 
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Brooky03

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You're a soccer nut who's played soccer, exclusively, for 9 months every year since you could walk. It's your 10th birthday and you decide you don't like soccer anymore and switch to golf, exclusively, 9 months out of the year, every year.

What's your risk of injury compared to recreational/part time golfers who take long walks in the park the other part of the year that they're not golfing? Your risk is higher. Your workout volume is higher and more intense.

What's your injury risk compared to part time golfers who play basketball half the year? Your injury risk is lower because their workout volume is higher, at a higher intensity. Basketball is a considerably more physically demanding sport than golf. The chances of getting hurt over time playing basketball for half years is exponentially higher than playing golf full time. So, in this scenario, the guy or gal who is not specialized is more likely to have injuries over time. Hmm...

It seems like the type of sport you specialize in matters because the conclusion changes. If the conclusion changes based on which sport you specialize in, then there are other factors that are not being appropriately counted. How are there not?

3 months of baseball is not the same as 3 months of basketball. You can't say athlete A, who plays 6 months of basketball, is more at risk of injury than athlete B, who splits time between basketball and baseball, predominately by virtue of athlete A being specialized. That's a small part of the whole picture. Athlete A is specialized but he's also working considerably harder. Is he at risk of injury because he's doing the same motions more often or because those motions he's doing are harder on the body?
 

sufandu

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This should be considered old news by now. Dr. James Andrews wrote a book about it a while ago. The reason it's so slow to take hold is that too many parents and youth coaches think their kid is gonna be a star college/pro athlete. By the time they're done running them into the ground trying to turn them into one, it's too late.
 

sufandu

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Anybody forcing a kid to pick a sport is a dbag.

But I see nothing wrong with it if the kid chooses to specialize. I played 3 sports through 8th grade. When high school started, I stuck with just football because it was the one sport I was good enough at to be a starter. I would have just played a few innings here and there in baseball and maybe like 10 minutes per game in basketball. Not worth it, when I could lift weights and do football specific stuff to get better at the sport I liked the most.

I managed to get through without becoming a cripple or dying, which sounds like something that would blow the minds of doctors I guess.
When you chose to specialize, did you play it year round or domother things in the off season?
 

xc84

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Some sports you have to specialize and really can't do other sports. If you are a distance runner, you can't really take a season off because you lose so much. It has to be done all year. However, that does not mean you can't start late. I believe Justyn Knight started somewhat late in running (10th grade) and didn't endure what some kids did by starting early in e.g. 7th grade.
 

Eric15

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3 months of baseball is not the same as 3 months of basketball.
I feel like it depends on the position in baseball. Pitching can be extremely strenuous on a young persons arm as throwing overhand is a unnatural motion. And being a catcher can be very rough on your back and hips.
 

sufandu

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Running and jumping is running and jumping.
That's true until you look at the repetitive nature of sport specific drills and that different sports require different ratios of running and jumping.

There have also been studies that show kids should have time during the year when they play no organized sports in order to reduce mental and physical burnout. Playing pickup ball with friends intermixed with riding bikes all over town and swimming in the pool or lake like kids used to do is different than being on a summer travel team.
 

sufandu

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For a serious-ish take, the problem doesn’t seem to be specialization; it’s volume. If you play basketball 250 days a year, your injury risk isn’t going to go down if you switch to football 125 days and basketball 125 days. Both sports require running, jumping, cutting, and contact. The muscles used and stresses on the joints are pretty much the same.

If you go with a baseball and basketball split, maybe you’ll fair better, but that’s a matter of volume, again. Baseball is 99.9% sitting and standing.
It's both specialization and volume.
 

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