Rate of Student Athlete Injuries Increases with Specialization

student athlete injuriesStudent athlete injuries are nothing new. However, these days kids are experiencing increased pressure both in school and on the athletic field. For those children who have aspirations of becoming college or professional athletes, the pressure to perform at high levels and specialize in one sport year-round can be especially high. This high level of performance can prepare them for elite teams and college athletic programs, but there can also be downsides. According to one study, as well as growing evidence in the medical field, adolescents who specialize in a sport are at higher risk of experiencing burnout, overtraining, and sports-related injuries.

New Study on Student Athlete Injuries

The American Journal of Sports Medicine study that recently came out suggests that specialization in one sport may increase the risk of injuries for high school athletes. Study author and senior scientist and research coordinator at the University of Wisconsin Heath Sports Medicine Center, Timothy McGuine, says that high school athletes have a 50 percent greater risk of having an injury if they are specialized. Usually these injuries consist of ankle sprains, knee tendonitis, and stress fractures.

Rate of Injuries of Students Who Specialize in a Sport

Athletic Trainers across 29 high schools in Wisconsin tracked 1,500 student athletes in order to obtain information on injuries. The students who are considered specialized in a sport according to this study train more than eight months a year, consider their primary sport as more important, and have quit one sport to focus on another.

The trainers found that 235 students sustained injuries that were serious enough to remove them from the game for a week.

Prevention of Injuries

The American Academy of Pediatrics released a report that concluded that delaying sport specialization for a majority of sports until after puberty may be a way to prevent some serious injuries. Additionally, the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine concluded that there is no evidence that young children will benefit from early sport specialization in the majority of sports.

To prevent injuries, parents and young athletes are encouraged to not overschedule sports commitments. Proper conditioning, training and equipment is crucial to stay healthy and injury-free. Adolescent athletes should not play year-round, and instead take some time to rest their bodies. They should also limit the number of teams that they are committed to throughout the year.

Sport safety should be a top priority for any family with young athletes. The allure of college and elite teams is high, but the safety and wellness of your child should always be a top concern.

In some instances, serious sports injuries or even death can be the result of negligence. In these cases, the victim(s) may be entitled to recover compensation for their suffering. As with any accident, it is important to contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible.


Aubrey, A. (2017, July 25). Student Athletes Who Specialize Early Are Injured More Often, Study Finds. Retrieved December 01, 2017, from https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/07/25/539334374/student-athletes-who-specialize-early-are-injured-more-often-study-finds


Our knowledge of orthopaedics. Your best health. (n.d.). Retrieved December 01, 2017, from https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases–conditions/high-school-sports-injuries