Multi-sport athletes fare better when it comes to injury

BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – Children can enjoy a lot of benefits from playing sports, but there’s always the risk of injury. But can you prevent your child from getting hurt? Dr. Chris Liebig with Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley has the answer.

Dr. Liebig heads up the new sports medicine department at ACH. He said half of the injuries in student athletes are from over use. He said students who focus solely on one sport are more prone to injury.

“A new study has shown that if they are specializing too soon, they are more likely to have an injury – 36 to 42 percent more likely,” Liebig said.

Research has proven that children 15 years old and under are at a greater risk and less likely to become what’s called an “elite athlete.”

“If you are not trying different sports then you are missing out, not only on the skill transfer between the two sports, which actually could lead to an elite status, but you are also going to emotionally drain them,” Liebig said.

Every student athlete is different and will progress at different speeds. Liebig cautions against pushing an athlete if they are not ready for specialized training or an activity that other teammates may be doing.

Parents can take several actions if their child is hurt. Liebig emphasized the need to follow a doctor’s treatment plan, even if it means missing practices or games. He said rest is the best medicine.

“Hopefully, we don’t have to put them in a cast or a brace or walking boot. Whatever the case may be, it is just rest. But I have to tell them that, and I think parents have to hear that and the athlete has to hear that,” Liebig said.

Many injuries can be prevented with the proper education, which Liebig hopes to share through Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley’s new sports medicine program. For more information on sports injuries and the sports medicine program at ACH, click here.

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