TUESDAY, Sept. 18, 2018 — Sport specialization in children and adolescents is associated with an increased risk of overuse musculoskeletal injuries, according to a review published in the September issue of Pediatrics.

David R. Bell, Ph.D., from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and colleagues conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of the literature to determine whether sport specialization is associated with overuse musculoskeletal injuries. The authors analyzed four studies with populations of athletes aged 18 years or less.

The researchers found that athletes with high specialization were at an increased risk of sustaining an overuse injury versus athletes with low (pooled relative risk [RR] ratio, 1.81) and moderate (pooled RR, 1.18) specialization. There was a higher risk of injury for athletes with moderate specialization than athletes with low specialization (RR, 1.39).

“These results revealed a stepwise increase in risk with increasing levels of specialization,” the authors write.

One author has received honoraria for lectures, including for service on a speakers bureau for the National Athletic Trainers’ Association.

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Posted: September 2018

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