High school athletes who specialize in a single sport sustain lower-extremity injuries at far higher rates than athletes who do not specialize, according to a study funded by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) and conducted by the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.
According to the NFHS, the study was conducted during the 2015-2016 school year at 29 Wisconsin high schools and involved over 1,500 student-athletes. Athletes who specialized were twice as likely to report previously suffering a lower-extremity injury while playing sports (46%) than those who did not specialize (24%).
Additionally, per the study, specialized athletes sustained 60 percent more lower-extremity injuries during the study than those who didn’t specialize.
“While we have long believed that sport specialization by high school athletes leads to an increased risk of overuse injury, this study confirms those beliefs about the potential risks of sport specialization,” said Bob Gardner, NFHS executive director. “Coaches, parents and student-athletes need to be aware of the injury risks involved with an overemphasis in a single sport.”
According to NFHS, the study indicated that high school athletes who spe
For more, read the NFHS report on the study here.