Serious injuries in young athletes rising

Feb. 20, 2007 at 10:48 AM
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SAN DIEGO, Feb. 20 (UPI) -- Serious injuries in young athletes are occurring at a higher rate and at a younger age, according to a U.S. study.

Forty percent of all emergency visits are for sports injuries in children age 5 to 14, according to Dr. Mininder S. Kocher, spokesperson for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and of Children's Hospital in Boston.

Kocher rarely saw patients entering high school that had already had shoulder injuries serious enough to require surgery, but now most of the post-middle and junior high group he sees have had shoulder surgery.

Several studies have found a high incidence of chronic elbow and shoulder injuries in young pitchers. Approximately 60 percent of 11- to 18-year-olds have had an injury due to the repetitive motion and overuse of the elbow and shoulder.

Little to no attention is being paid to what type of pitches and throws a young player is being asked to make or the number he or she is making in a game or practice session, says Kocher. These types of "overuse" injuries are also found with gymnasts, according to Kocher.

The results were presented at a pediatric sports injury symposium at the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons annual meeting at the San Diego Convention Center.

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