Research warns against students specializing in one sport



Research warns against students specializing in one sport

The month of March may be all about the Madness, but it’s also National Athletic Training Month.

In honor of this month, the Department of Kinesiology at UW-Madison is busy collecting data about high school athletes.

“There’s certain orthopedic injuries that used to be reserved for baseball players with 20 years of experience,” assistant professor, David Bell, said.

“Now they’re seeing them in kids that are 14 and 15,” he continued.

Bell said there’s speculation sports specialization has something to do with this, but there’s little research to back it up.

“We’re one of the first people to publish data,” he said.

“Probably the second group to publish data on this particular topic.”

Though data may be hard to find there are coaches who believe multi-sport athletes make for the healthier teammate.

“There’s a reason these injuries are getting more increased,” Sun Prairie High School coach, Brian Kaminski said.

“One of the biggest reasons is kids specializing in one sport. Using that same muscle over and over [and] not taking a break,” he continued.

Students like high school junior, Nate Verstegen, agreed.

Verstegen attributes playing a variety of sports to being a well rounded athlete.

“I’m working on my body,” he said.

“I’m getting stronger, and I’m also getting mentally tougher as I go along and I’m trying to compete at that next level hopefully.”

Because he plays more than one sport Verstegen may just be able to hold on to that hope. According to the research he’s less likely to have knee and hip injuries.