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Sports Specialization: Safe for Young Athletes?

From the Show: Healthy Children
Summary: Is it better for your child athlete to focus on one sport or dabble in many different areas of athletics?
Air Date: 7/8/15
Duration: 10
Host: Melanie Cole, MS
Guest Bio: Joel Brenner, MD
Brenner Joel Dr. Joel Brenner is an associate professor of pediatrics at the Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS) in Norfolk, VA. He is the medical director of the Children's Hospital of The King's Daughters sports medicine and adolescent medicine programs, , the Director of the CHKD Sports Concussion program, Dance Medicine program and Running Program. He is trained in pediatrics, sports medicine and adolescent medicine.

Dr. Brenner is the immediate-past chairperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics' Council on Sports Medicine and Fitness.

Currently Dr. Brenner is the team physician for local high schools and Norfolk State University, Governor's School for the Arts, Todd Rosenlieb Dance and Virginia Ballet Theater.

He lectures locally, nationally and internationally on various sports medicine topics including "concussions in youth" and "overuse and over-training in young athletes."
Sports Specialization: Safe for Young Athletes?
If your child is interested in athletics, you may be thankful because of all the amazing health benefits that come with being active at such a young age.

If he or she is showing an interest in several sports, you may think this is good thing too. But, it can actually backfire.

In fact, many parents are turning to sports specialization.

Sports specialization is defined as year-round training in one sport, with the exclusion of any other sport. Some believe that sports specialization isn't a good idea, since it involves intense training year-round and usually starts at a young age. Critics also point to psychological stress on your athlete, the increased risk of injury, or an increased risk of burnout/dropout.

However, others believe it allows your child a chance to develop many skills (mental and physical) that they can use later in life and allows the potential for school scholarships.

If you're interested in sports specialization, when is it safe and appropriate?

Joel Brenner, MD, discusses sports specialization and whether or not it's safe for your child.
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