Posts Tagged ‘sport injury’

How Much is Too Much in a Youth Sport?

Research shows sports specialization is harming younger children, and outweighs any benefit he or she might derive from laser-like focus on one youth sport.Is your child athlete playing only one youth sport, and if so, is he or she doing it year-round, with little or no monitoring about over using certain muscles?

Research shows this kind of sports specialization is harming your younger children, and greatly outweighs any benefit he or she might derive from laser-like focus on one sport.

The Emory Sports Medicine Center, a leader in advanced treatments for patients with orthopaedic and sports-related injuries, has been on the cutting edge of that research.

Dr. Neeru Jayanthi, M.D., of the Emory Sports Medicine Center, is a leading expert on youth sports health and is an ardent believer in kids playing organized sports. However, he believes even stronger in a simpler plan: Kids need to play. Period. Not play soccer, per se. Or baseball. Or even tennis, which is his specialty. But just play and play multiple sports.

While Jayanthi, is not at all urging parents to steer their children away from organized teams sports, his nationally acclaimed study on youth sport injuries show playing is more important to the child than playing a sport, and that once sports become the primary way a child plays, parents should monitor the number of hours the child spends on any one sport.

“With travel leagues and kid playing one sport 10 to 12 months a year, we’re seeing more over-use injuries than we would have a generation ago,” Dr. Jayanthi said. “Everyone wants the best for their child, but the best is never to let them spend hours a day, every day, doing the same activity.”

In America, particularly in warmer weather states, baseball is probably where there is more specialization, year-round focus and over-use injuries. It has gotten so bad, particularly with pitchers, that USA Baseball and Major League Baseball have teamed up to promote an educational program that urges restraint.

“When baseball is telling young baseball players to take it easy, it helps validate what we are saying,” Dr. Jayanthi said.

Dr. Jayanthi and colleagues researched 1,200 young athletes and found that kids should not spend more hours per week than his or her age playing sports. Younger children are developmentally immature and are less able to tolerate physical stress. Also, the study suggests that kids should not spend more than twice as much time playing organized sports as they do in unorganized free play.

“I love organized sports and love to see athlete’s at their best,” he said. “And that takes a lot of hard work and dedication. I get that. I believe in it. But the two concepts are not mutually exclusive to each other. In fact, I believe they go hand in hand. Want what’s best for your child, both developmentally and athletically? Follow these guidelines.”

Dr. Jayanthi leads Emory’s Tennis Medicine program and is considered one of the country’s leading experts on youth sports health, injuries, and sports training patterns, as well as an international leader in tennis medicine. He is currently the President of the International Society for Tennis Medicine and Science (STMS) and a certified USPTA teaching professional.

About Emory Sports Medicine Center

At the Emory Sports Medicine Center, our experts specialize in advanced procedures to treat and repair a wide range of sports related injuries. Recently recognized as one of the nation’s TOP 50 orthopaedics programs, Emory Orthopaedics, Sports and Spine has 6 convenient locations across metro Atlanta, as well as 6 physical therapy locations. To make an appointment to see one of our Emory sports medicine specialists, please call 404-778-3350 or complete our online appointment request form.

About Dr. Jayanthi

jayanthi-neeru-aDr. Jayanthi leads Emory’s Tennis Medicine program and is considered one of the country’s leading experts on youth sports health, injuries, and sports training patterns, as well as an international leader in tennis medicine. He is currently the President of the International Society for Tennis Medicine and Science (STMS) and a certified USPTA teaching professional. He has also been a volunteer ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) physician for 15 years, serves as a medical advisor for the WTA (Woman’s Tennis Association) Player Development Panel, and is on the commission for the International Tennis Performance Association (ITPA). He has been selected to the board of directors for the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM) twice, and serves as a Consultant for the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) Council on Sports Medicine and Fitness, Aspen Institute Sport and Society Program, and Mom’s Team. Dr. Jayanthi has won multiple AMSSM Foundation Research Grants for his collaborative research on early sports specialized training and overuse injury in young athletes. He previously was the medical director of primary care sports medicine at Loyola University Chicago for 12 years where he was voted a “Top Doctor” in the Chicagoland Suburbs prior to being recruited to Emory.

Emory Tennis Medicine Program: Patient Story

jayanthi patient story 2It was Labor Day weekend of 2015 , and  I was in Tennessee playing  in a tennis tournament. While playing, I suddenly could not bend over very well. I could hardly walk, twist or turn. I didn’t know it at the time but I had 3 stress fractures in my back potentially from how quickly I had grown  in a year and a half. At that time I was playing about 18 hours a week on average, and in the summer I played a little more. My back had been hurting off and on for about a year, but I was going to physical therapy once a week throughout that time which seemed to be helping.  Previously I experienced tightness in my back but the tightness would come and go.  It would hurt for a few days and after physical therapy would feel better.  However, I was always nervous because I never knew when it would come back.  I had heard of other tennis players with back issues but I didn’t think mine was as serious. During that match on Labor Day weekend, my parents pulled me off after the first set and I defaulted  the tournament. Oddly enough the next day I felt fine.  I could do everything and my flexibility came back.  I even went to tennis practice.

That  random alteration in my performance is what led my mother to setting up an appointment. In October I had an x-ray taken of my back and was told that there was an area of concern in my lower spine, so I was sent for and MRI to get a better image.  The results came back soon after and  I was told that I had stress fractures in my back.  My parents picked me up from practice as soon as they got the news and I had to stop all activity immediately. I was shocked. It didn’t seem like It could be possible because I had been feeling fine, but my back was broken!

My parents started doing research trying to find a doctor with specific experience in helping tennis players with injuries like mine,  and they learned about Neeru Jayanthi, MD at the Emory Sports Medicine Center.  My mother called and asked for Dr. Jayanthi and scheduled an appointment since he was tennis specific. The process was amazing.  We were excited and blown away by the response time.  An appointment was scheduled within a few days!

During the office visit, Dr. Jayanthi mapped out a plan. As part of the Emory Sports Medicine Tennis program, I was taken to a fitness center to see if there were any flaws in my strokes that may have caused the fractures.

This was the first specialized doctor that I had seen who did an on court evaluation with me, and he gave me confidence that I would be able to return to playing. The one-on-one hands-on evaluation and interaction was great, and it was very helpful to have a step by step plan for returning to the court.

In January of 2016, I went back for another appointment and was evaluated again. This time Dr. Jayanthi let me hit full court, serve and run around. It was fun to play again after being out for so long, and I felt like I was finally getting closer to being back. Before the end of my appointment, Dr. Jayanthi gave me a plan to gradually build up a few hours each week and specific drills to work on.  Now, I’m currently playing about 10 hours a week.

I am more capable of and doing more now than I ever imagined compared to what I was able to do when I first got the shocking news.  I have  increased my flexibility, core strength and upper body strength. I don’t rely on my back as much as I did before  and I have a much greater sense of freedom when it comes to being on the court, knowing that I will not get hurt again.

It’s been a tough experience but I feel much stronger in many ways because of it. I recommend any athlete struggling with back pain to have it looked at quickly. I waited a while thinking that it was just muscle soreness and growing pains when in fact I had fractures in my back.

A note from Dr. Jayanthi

On court evaluations are performed by Dr. Jayanthi (who is also USPTA-certified teaching professional) most commonly on junior/elite level tennis players who are looking to optimally return to competitive tennis while reducing their future risk of injury to identify any opportunities for modifying strokes to accommodate for an injury.

This is typically done on the tennis court, after a medical evaluation to identify the specific medical deficits, and then coupled with a research survey, video analysis and then progressions to help modify strokes and then return to tennis effectively.  If there are any notable deficits or any more significant changes to strokes, these are often communicated to the teaching professional/coach.  We follow these players at 6 months and at 1 year to assess their injury and performance status.

About Dr. Jayanthi

jayanthi-neeru-aNeeru Jayanthi, MD, is considered one of the country’s leading experts in youth sports health, injuries and sports training patterns, as well as an international leader in tennis medicine. He is currently the President of the International Society for Tennis Medicine and Science (STMS) and a certified USPTA tennis teaching professional. He previously was the medical director of primary care sports medicine at Loyola University Chicago prior to being recruited to Emory, where he will lead an innovative tennis medicine program.

Dr. Jayanthi’s practice is open to all children and adults with non-surgical issues related to activity and sports. He particularly loves working with young athletes of all sports, and