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Orthop Clin North Am. 2015 Apr;46(2):249-58. doi: 10.1016/j.ocl.2014.11.004. Epub 2014 Dec 19.

Consequences of single sport specialization in the pediatric and adolescent athlete.

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Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of California San Francisco, 500 Parnassus Avenue, MU-320W, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94143, USA.
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Cincinnati Children's Hospital, 3333 Burnet Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45229, USA.
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of California San Francisco Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland, 747 52nd Street, Oakland, CA 94609, USA. Electronic address:


Pediatric and adolescent sports participation has increased with a concomitant increase in injuries. Sports have transitioned from recreational to deliberate, structured activities wherein success is determined by achievement of 'elite' status. This has led to specialization in a single sport with intensive, repetitive activity at younger ages causing physical and emotional consequences, particularly true for the growing athlete who is particularly susceptible to injury. Clinicians caring for this population must understand the epidemiology of youth sports specialization, the unique physiology/structure of this age group, and the potential physical and emotional consequences.


Adolescent; Burnout; Overuse; Pediatric; Specialization; Sports injuries; Youth

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