A recent survey found nine out of 10 parents underestimate the time kids should take off from playing any one sport during the year. The rest is needed to prevent overuse injuries, overtraining and burnout.
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Laura Goldberg, MD, a sports health physician at the Cleveland Clinic Sports Health Center, says parents need to pay attention to the warning signs.
“We all know that in sports you hurt. You get sore, you get tired, and you’re challenging your body. But certainly, [watch out for] anything that causes a child to limp and anything that is a recurrent complaint,” Dr. Goldberg says.
Dr. Goldberg says children should take two to three months away from a specific sport every year, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine.
Young athletes should also be encouraged to take at least one day off each week from organized activity. Most parents say they depend on coaches to keep their kids safe, but Dr. Goldberg says it’s a team effort.
“We need to address it at the parent and coaching level and really educate parents and coaches about what is OK to push their kids to do and when is too much,” Dr. Goldberg says.
A recent survey cited cost, lack of time and lack of information as the main barriers coaches gave for not getting more education.