How Young Athletes Can Minimize the Risk of Sports Injuries

To avoid injuries, athletes should play more games as a recreational activity, in addition to their chosen sport

Tennis player
Tennis players who play other recreational sports are less injured than tennis players who only play tennis

One way for young athletes to avoid injuries may be to spend more time in un-organized free play such as pick-up games may be .

In a first-of-its-kind study, sports medicine specialist Dr. Neeru Jayanthi and colleagues at the Loyola University discovered that injured young athletes who play a single sport such as tennis spent much less time in free play and un-organized sports than uninjured athletes who play tennis and many other sports.

Jayanthi presented his research at the Society for Tennis Medicine and Science and United States Tennis Association Tennis Medicine and Injury Conference in Atlanta.

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Details of the study

In this collaborative study, Jayanthi examined 891 young athletes who were seen at Loyola University Health System and Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago clinics. These included 618 athletes who sought treatment for sports injuries and 273 uninjured athletes who came in for sports physicals. Participants included 124 tennis players [74 of whom played tennis exclusively].

Among single-sport tennis players, the ones who suffered injuries played proper tennis for 12.6 hours per week and only 2.4 hours per week in recreational games. In contrast, the uninjured tennis players spent 9.7 per week playing organized sports, and 4.3 hours a week in free play and recreation. In other words, among the injured tennis players ratio of time spent on organised sport to recreational games was 5:1 where as the same ratio was 2.6:1 among those who were not injured.

“Our findings suggest that more participation in a variety of un-organized sports and free play may be protective of injury, particularly among tennis players,” Jayanthi said.

Regular health check-ups

But overall there is one important aspect in sport that we cannot neglect, and that is regular health check-ups. Doctors from Clinique de médecine sportive de l’Avenir mentioned that in any sport, you may experience some injuries and in that case, it’s better to get examined as soon as possible to avoid difficulties.

For instance, if you have unusual pain, visiting a sports medicine specialist is important. They can provide ultrasound infiltration, which is the best solution for pain management and muscle injuries.


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