Letter: Young athletes are better off playing multiple sports
I wanted to compliment your article highlighting Taylor Martin and stressing that she is a multi-sport athlete (“Catawba, Martin ready to bounce back,” Feb 2.) Youth participation in organized sports in the U.S. is rising, with many kids focusing on a single sport.
That’s despite the fact that research shows that young athletes spending over eight months annually in one sport not only increase their risk of injury by 70 percent, but they’re more likely to participate in less games, incur more major injuries and have a shorter career.
As the son of retired MLB pitcher Tommy John, whose name is attached to a procedure that now affects more kids than pro athletes (Tommy John surgery), I wish more parents understood how having their kids play several sports is part of the solution.
I ask that your readers consider this: Among the 106 players on the Patriots’ and Eagles’ rosters, 102 played multiple sports in high school. And according to research, only 22.3 percent of pro athletes say they would want their child to specialize in just one sport. If you want your kid to turn pro, then consider that the pros already know that sports specialization isn’t the answer.
— Dr. Tommy John
San Diego, California
Dr. Tommy John is author of “Minimize Injury, Maximize Performance: A Sports Parent’s Survival Guide.”
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