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One-Sport Athletes at Risk for Overuse

Is there such a thing as too much physical activity? With more athletes than ever before specializing in one sport at a young age, sports medicine specialists are seeing an increase in overuse injuries.

“There’s always going to be bumps and bruises from sports,” says Brian C. Schafer, MD, orthopedic surgeon at Saint Francis Medical Center. “It’s the chronic, overuse-type injury that we’re trying to avoid, and that’s what we’re seeing at a younger age.”

Brian C. Schafer, MD
Brian C. Schafer, MD

Young pitchers are particularly susceptible. “If it’s tendonitis or inflammation, it will get better with rest,” says Schafer. “Kids can recover pretty well from that sort of thing. But if you do it over and over – like with little league pitchers and their elbow and shoulder injuries – that could stay with them for a lifetime.”

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