Philly Doctors Worry About High Injury Rates With Young Athletes

More and more young athletes start focusing on a single sport too early

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP
    The pop warner Packers before a preseason NFL football game Saturday, Aug. 14, 2010, in Green Bay, Wis.

    More and more young athletes start focusing on a single sport too early -- causing an increase in sports injuries.

    That was the consensus of three professional team doctors at a discussion on the impact of sports Wednesday.

    The Rothman Institute hosted the event, which featured team physicians from the Flyers, Phillies, and Sixers.

    The team doctors agree that they see too many young athletes with very serious injuries. Many of those injuries are related to the wear and tear that occur with constant repetition.

    Phillies team physician Michael Ciccotti says some kids begin specializing in one sport when they are only 4 years old.

    "Just playing a sport, the same sport, the entire year, their bodies are not capable of withstanding it," he explained.

    Ciccotti added that for most kids, sports will not become a profession -- and parents and coaches should keep that in mind. He said he is often reminded of this when he examines a young player, and there's a lot of emotion in the room.

    "There is a young athlete on the table, and everyone is there with them, because that young athlete is going to be the next Roy Halladay," he said. ''In most cases, that's not really going to happen."

    The team doctors agree that kids should play different sports, to get the benefits of athletic engagement, without so many risks.