Not so long ago (though it sometimes seems that way), a child would come home from school, do homework, then go out to play in the backyard or neighborhood. These days, kids’ play is, literally, a whole other ball game. Parents practically need a score card to keep track of their children’s complicated, intensive after-school sports schedules.
One of the first casualties of such a lifestyle, says Duke pediatrician Deborah Squire, MD, who specializes in sports medicine, is often childhood itself.
“Sports can be a great socializing tool for children,” she says, “but adults’ expectations of performance often bring too much structure and pressure into what should be a fun time for kids.
“We frequently see kids no older than eight or nine years old coming into the clinic with repetitive motion and overuse injuries, including stress fractures," Squire says.
Greg McElveen, a father of three who leads the Duke Sports Performance Program, urges parents of young athletes to consider five key points. To read more, go to the full post on DukeHealth.org.