Teen athletes in overdrive find bodies can't keep up

  • Article by: JASON GONZALEZ , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 22, 2012 - 12:02 AM

Repetitive motions and no breaks can cause lifelong problems.

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pdxtranJul. 21, 1210:32 PM

You know those hours and hours young athletes spend practicing, even though they don't have a ghost of a chance of making it as a pro? If they spent those same hours studying, they would have a realistic career alternative to their sports dream and might even qualify for an academic scholarship. If they spent those same hours volunteering, they'd be doing something for humanity. If they spent those same hours reading or pursuing an artistic activity or a craft or gardening, they'd be enriching their emotional lives. But to spend six hours a day practicing hitting a tennis ball? If you aren't pro level and have no chance of being a pro (look at how young the real pros are when their outstanding talents show up), why waste your time like that?

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samueldyerJul. 21, 1211:00 PM

now lets see the percentage of vasity athletes in MN that do get full ride scholarships and of them the numbers that turn pro... sports is scheme.. company's making money off all the little athletes that want to be like the pros

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j_m_t_usJul. 21, 1211:46 PM

pdxtran... Most kids I'm sure have ZERO interest in your suggestions! I know I wouldn't! Kids today want to play sports and I applaud them for it. Go out and have fun playing the sports you enjoy the most and if you have the talent and fortunate to get a scholarship in college, more power to you!

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johnfrenzerJul. 22, 1212:08 AM

The issue is not sports, but the repetition of motion in the same sport year round. The key is to play the sport in season, which provides cross training for all sports. Their is way too much demand for high school athletes to play their sport in the off season (basketball in the summer, spring and fall; hockey in the summer, spring and fall). If the kids do not participate in these, there simply is less chance they make the team for the school season. The only thing the High school league prohibits is the HS coach cannot coach during the off season. But do not fool yourself into thinking the HS coaches do not know what is going on, who is performing and who is not. A former HS Coach

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imichelleJul. 22, 1212:12 AM

pdxtran and samualdryer, It seems that all the kids in the article are not driven by scholarships but the enjoyment of playing, and the desire to be the best. It also seems that they are all strongly self driven. These are applaud-able traits. The gusto that they are attacking their sport of choice is also the gusto that they will one day use to provide for a family and partake in the community. Don't judge them for things that they are not.

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ollie3Jul. 22, 1212:55 AM

"Most kids I'm sure have ZERO interest in your suggestions! I know I wouldn't! Kids today want to play sports and I applaud them for it".....That's what parents are for, to guide their children to doing things that will prepare them for adult life, not to try to be their friends and let them do whatever they want.

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mnfanintampaJul. 22, 12 6:17 AM

Pdxtran...sports teaches discipline, team work, goal setting and accomplishment, can't get the same experience reading a book on a couch.

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minneg56Jul. 22, 12 6:46 AM

A couple of things- 1. Old school is better when it comes to youth sports. It affords cross training opportunities- it circumvents the repetitive motion as different sports in many cases require using different muscle groups. 2. It affords different ways of competing and learning and engaging in teamwork- how you do things on a football club is a lot different than in a swimming pool. 3. It affords the opportunity for kids to meet more kids as years ago kids used to play a different mix of sports- so you'd get to know other kids in you own school and a different 'set' of kids on clubs from other schools too. 3. Show me an 'uber driven' child and I'll show you a 'stage parent' pushing aggresively from behind and a parent looking for a return on invewtment for their hours in the car and the money they spent on equipment, camps and actvities fees. 4. When the term 'high school career' is used to describe a kid's invovlement in sports ... it suggests a 'job like' situation and not someone who is doing it for the pure joy of sport and trying to be the best. 5. Youth sports has become a 'racket' to make money from pushy parents off their marginally abled kids who started sports just to socialize and have a fun activity. I'm on the other end of the tunnel from high school sports- former long term youth athletic board member - youth coach. I may not have seen it all but I've seen most of it. Let the kids play multiple sports. Most of the repetitive injuries will disappear.

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localguyJul. 22, 12 7:39 AM

“That's what parents are for, to guide their children to doing things that will prepare them for adult life” . . . . I agree with this, but parents are often a major part of the problem. From the time the kids start to play a sport, a significant number of parents push their kids to achieve the success that they never did so that the parent can live vicariously through their child’s accomplishments. By the time they’re in high school, parents have often conditioned their children to push themselves just as hard. Youth sports should be about adopting active, healthy lifestyles and learning life lessons, not about pleasing a selfish, over involved parent.

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heykoolaidJul. 22, 12 8:24 AM

You will never be able to convince a parent what is best for their child. Even with all of the science in the world backing basic facts about injury and player burnout, I'm watching parents take 5 and 6 year old kids and have them play one sport (in this case, hockey) 3 to 4 nights per week and many weekends year round. The result? Kids who will be the best mite and squirt hockey players who will quit by the time they are 13 (Read USA Hockey's report on this for more information). Somewhere along the way, we've lost track of what sports for kids are supposed to be and replaced them with an absurd notion of professional training with pie-in-the-sky promises that deliver as the exception and not the rule.

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