Summer Reading, Continued

It’s hard to believe. August is here.

In the USA, this is prime time for my field of pediatric sports medicine.  Two-a-day practices have started in high school.  Contact in American football practices will soon begin.  This training is all taking place in the heat.  We’ve got a lot of injuries coming our way.

And yet….it is still summer, and that means vacation for a lot of us.

In the last CJSM blog post, I shared with you a book that I would consider a ‘must read’ for anyone in our profession who cares for young athletes or is interested in the mental health of athletes, especially elite ones:  What Made Maddy Run?

In this post, I want to commend to you another read, David Epstein’s new book, Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World.

Mr. Epstein is likely well known to at least American readers of CJSM.  He was a keynote speaker at the AMSSM annual meeting several years ago, and was a focus of a CJSM blog post published at the time his last book came out (another ‘must read’ for our profession): The Sports Gene: Inside the Science of Extraordinary Athletic Ability. 

The Epstein book I am currently reading, Range, is a great book for summer travels.  It was a compelling read that I could pick up on a plane, on the beach, or from my nightstand.  Mr. Epstein’s prose flows as he, er, ranges over a variety of topics centered on the theme of generalists vs. specialists.

The book’s most obvious connection to our world is via the increasingly hot topic in sports medicine of sport specialization, most notably early specialization in youth sports, increasingly recognized as a possible contributor to a high incidence of overuse injuries and burnout. Mr. Epstein explodes the modern dominant paradigm of the so-called 10,000 hour rule, making an argument that specialization may be a crucial piece for excelling only in a limited range of sports (e.g. golf, gymnastics).  That youth who start off as generalists go on to  thrive instead in most sports.

He divides the sports world (and the world in general) into ‘kind’ and ‘wicked’ environments.  Read more of this post

Overuse Injuries and Burnout in Youth Sports


10,000 hours of practice, and
he might make the Red Sox?*

We’re very pleased at CJSM to open the New Year with a shout:  a fantastic systematic review and position statement on the subject of youth sport, from the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM).

The focus of the paper–in the January 2014 issue, which has just published–is on overuse injuries, which are thought to represent roughly half of all the injuries youth athletes sustain.

All readers of the journal, and of this blog, will find this a worthwhile read.  I have a selfish interest in the subject, as I am currently practicing pediatric sports medicine, and in my professional life I live and breathe the issues discussed in the paper. Moreover, I know several of the authors of this paper, and I think highly of them all.

But this is not about ’eminence based’ medicine.  No, it’s evidence-based all the way.  The paper is both a systematic review and the AMSSM position statement on the subject of “Overuse Injuries and Burnout in Youth Sports”.  The authors conducted a thorough review of the literature, identifying 953 papers and citing 208 unique references in their comprehensive analysis of this broad subject.  They go on to review what is known, and then make recommendations, classified using the Strength of Recommendation Taxonomy (SORT) grading system.

The paper is broadly organized into the following subsections:  epidemiology; risk factors (intrinsic and extrinsic); discussion of high-risk overuse injuries;  discussion of several concepts mentioned frequently in the literature of youth sports (readiness for sport; sport specialization; burnout); and prevention.

The study is so very comprehensive, I cannot do better justice to it than encourage you to read it yourself.  I thought I might here mention some of what stood out for me. Read more of this post

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