What’s Going Around: Youth sport injuries

A local physician is recommending parents add variety to their child's sports schedule to avoid overuse injuries.
Published: Apr. 19, 2023 at 7:48 AM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Summer nights spent at the ballpark, they’re memories your family will cherish forever, but is there a point when the kids are playing too much?

“As our younger kids are hitting the adolescents, we’re seeing a lot of big increase in shoulder and elbow injuries among that population,” said Cindy Griessel, a physician assistant with Mercy.

It can almost feel like a rat race for parents, making sure their child is playing on the right teams to keep them competitive in a crowded field.

“I do feel like we’re in kind of this realm of decide, and kids are committing at a very young age to play one sport,” said Griessel. “They’re playing multiple games on multiple teams and traveling all that at a very young age.”

Cindy Griessel, a physician assistant with Mercy said a packed schedule for your child could be harmful, instead of helpful.

“The issue is that their bone structure is not developed at that point,” said Griessel. “So there’s those very overuse type injuries and so when you’re dealing with those overuse type injuries, and the problem that you really see it in is as kids who are pitching and then kids who are catching, because of the amount of throwing that they’re doing.”

Griessel said it’s important to listen to your kids. “You’re seeing that repetitive pain, meaning each time they throw that ball they’re saying man I’m getting pain in my shoulder and that is really a red flag,” said Griessel. “Then if you notice a change in velocity, where they were able to throw it pretty hard and now they’re backing off a little bit and range of motion.”

Griessel said putting some variety back into your child’s schedule could make a big difference.

“If they’re playing baseball in the summer, soccer in the spring,” said Griessel. “Shake it up so they’re getting that cross-training because their muscles are still in development at that point, and we want them to be holistically developed.”

Griessel recommends keeping track of your child’s pitch count. You can find the recommended pitch counts, by age, here.

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