There’s lots of discussion in lacrosse about overtraining & specialization, not only among players and parents, but also among coaches and health care providers.
How much is too much? What age is appropriate for specialization? And what is the correlation between training load and the risk of injury?
To help address some of these questions and issues, the 2019 US Lacrosse Sports Medicine Symposium, presented in partnership with MedStar Health on January 11 in Philadelphia, includes a session devoted exclusively to this subject.
Dr. Neeru Jayanthi of the Emory University School of Medicine is considered to be one of the country’s leading experts in youth sports health, injuries and sports training patterns, and will serve as one of the presenters during the session.
With a background as a tennis player, Jayanthi began studying overuse injuries with youth tennis players. After seeing significant trends involving overtraining and serious overuse injuries (missed time of one month of longer), he began to emphasize the findings across all sports.
“Studies show that there are strong associations between increased sport specialization and increased injury risk,” Jayanthi said.
Making sure that youth players are part of a supportive sports environment is critical. Jayanthi notes that specialization is not necessary if college playing opportunities are the desired goal for the youth participant.
“Most college athletes did not specialize early and most played multiple sports into high school,” he said.
To minimize injury risk, one of the training tips that he espouses is the “age versus hours” rule. Athletes should not spend more hours per week in organized sport than their age (ie – less than 15 total hours for a 15-year-old).
While understanding that most parents are good-intentioned, Jayanthi nevertheless challenges them with the responsibility of setting the training and participation parameters.
“It is your job to monitor your own child and to ultimately decide when is enough and when is too much,” he said. “Parents have a lot of influence and the power to change the environment.”
Additional insights from Jayanthi on this topic will be included in his presentation on January 11, entitled, “Sport Specialization in Lacrosse: Understanding the Performance vs. Participation Sport-Specific Models.”
The 2019 US Lacrosse Sports Medicine Symposium is open to all members of the medical and lacrosse communities, including physicians, athletic trainers, physical therapists, coaches, and parents. See the full line-up of speakers and topics.
While hosted in conjunction with the 2019 US Lacrosse Convention, registration for the Symposium is independent of the convention. Those attendees registering for the convention may however add a symposium registration for just $35.