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"The facts behind early sports specialization and increased injuries" är skriven av amerikanska och norska professorer och läkare.

Utdrag från "The facts behind early sports specialization and increased injuries"


Early sport specialization is not a requirement for success at the highest levels of competition and is believed to be unhealthy physically and mentally for young athletes. It also discourages unstructured free play, which has many benefits.


To review the available evidence on early sports specialization and identify areas where scientific data are lacking.

Study Design:

Think tank, roundtable discussion.


The primary outcome of this think tank was that there is no evidence that young children will benefit from early sport specialization in the majority of sports. They are subject to overuse injury and burnout from concentrated activity. Early multisport participation will not deter young athletes from long-term competitive athletic success.


Youth advocates, parents, clinicians, and coaches need to work together with the sport governing bodies to ensure healthy environments for play and competition that do not create long-term health issues yet support athletic competition at the highest level desired.

Despite mounting scientific evidence and professional athletes speaking out against its value, the trend of early sports specialization continues with tournaments and competitive leagues increasingly available as well as wider media exposure (eg, The Short Game [7- to 8-year-old golfers], Friday Night Tykes [Texas Youth Football]). Early sports specialization, or early single-sport specialization, is believed to be potentially damaging to the long-term physical and mental health of athletes and has not been validated as a requirement for competitive success in sport.3 Early youth sport specialization has been associated with increased rates of overuse injury, burnout, decreased motivation for participation, and sports withdrawal,19,33,34,43 while multisport participation is proposed to result in better long-term performance and an increase in lifetime enjoyment of physical activity and recreational sports participation.2

With these issues in mind, the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM) convened a think tank on the topic of early sports specialization on October 2, 2015, in Rosemont, Illinois. This report represents the consensus of the participants of this meeting; importantly, it identifies areas where more research is necessary to address the outstanding questions surrounding this topic (Appendix 1) and achieve the goal of healthy athletic participation through adulthood at the highest level of participation desired.

Definition of Early Sports Specialization and Background Information

It was the consensus at this symposium that early sports specialization, or early single-sport specialization, be defined by the following 3 criteria:

  1. Participation in intensive training and/or competition in organized sports greater than 8 months per year (essentially year round)34
  2. Participation in 1 sport to the exclusion of participation in other sports (limited free play overall)33
  3. Involving prepubertal (seventh grade or roughly age 12 years) children.

What is the Evidence That Early Sports Specialization is Detrimental?

A variety of researchers and organizations have investigated the impact of early sports specialization on long-term health and future sport success. The consensus statement of the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine19 on overuse injuries and burnout in youth sports contends that a variety of physical and mental health concerns can be attributed to early sports specialization. In their position statement, they identify the concerns listed in Table 1.

Table 1
Categorization of Risk Factors for Overuse Injurya

Their recommendations for avoiding burnout and injury include the following:

  • Avoiding overscheduling and excessive time commitments
  • Consider using a valid and reliable tool to monitor burnout
  • Emphasize skill development and fun
  • Emphasize lifelong physical activity skills.

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