Thank you for the engaging and eye-opening article, “Final Four for the 4-Foot Set” (July 22, 2013).
As the article explains, today’s youth athletic culture promotes year-round training in a single sport. Unfortunately excessive practice and play, often beginning at a young age and continuing into adulthood, is causing an epidemic of overuse injuries.
Orthopaedic surgeons see it every day: injuries to the tendons, bones and joints due to the repetitive motion of the arms, legs and shoulders. For children, these injuries cause pain and lost play time from the sports that they love. More alarming are the potential impact these injuries have on child growth and long-term musculoskeletal health.
Fortunately, more than half of all sports injuries in children are preventable. In 2010, the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM) in cooperation with the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons launched the STOP (Sports Trauma and Overuse Prevention) Sports Injuries Campaign. The goal of the program is to curb the number of youth injuries from overuse and trauma in all sports through proper training, equipment safety, and the early detection of injuries and overuse.
Kids are becoming more serious about sports at a younger age, and as a result, their injuries are more frequent and serious. However, a cooperative effort by players, parents, coaches and health care providers to promote safe play practices can ensure that children are able to reap the benefits of regular exercise and competitive sports today and for a lifetime.
Jo A. Hannafin, MD, PhD
President, American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM)
Joshua J. Jacobs, MD
President, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS)
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons , Rosemont, Illinois