WellSpan study shows sports specialization in kids can lead to injuries later in life

YORK, Pa. (WHTM) – Does specializing in one sport at a young age help or hurt? A new study with WellSpan Sports Medicine and the York Revolution sets out to answer that question.

The study recently published in the Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine shows stepping up to the plate and specializing in one sport can mean big injuries for your kids as young adults.

Swim meets keep Julie Tate busy. She’s a mom to five swimmers and a USA Swimming official.

“My kids are specialized swimmers,” Tate said. “I totally agree with the study. I see it all the time.”

The study finds staying in one sport could mean bad news for kids later in life.

“Those players that specialized early before high school had a higher rate of serious injury that kept them out for a year during their professional careers,” said John Deitch, director of sports medicine for WellSpan Health.

102 professional baseball players in the Atlantic League, including the York Revolution, took part in the seven-question study. More than 63 percent of those players felt that early specialization had no benefit on their professional career.

Specialization can lead to overuse injuries to the rotator cuff, back, and arm.

“Specifically with baseball, they’re using just one hand. Even with total body, they’re only using one arm or the other side of the leg,” said Chong Choi, athletic trainer for the York Revolution.

“They need to cross train. They need to lift weights,” Tate said. “They need to work perhaps even with physical therapists.”

WellSpan researchers encourage your kids to have fun and play a lot of sports to hit a homerun with their health down the road.


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