Last month I talked about pitch counts, rest days and overuse injuries. In part 2 of my blog series on Throwing Injuries, I want to address the multiple sport athlete and offer several qualified perspectives from well-known coaches and professional athletes.
Many kids and parents think that by specializing in one sport it will increase their chance of being good at that sport and potentially increase their chance of playing in high school or college or beyond. However, this has been shown in multiple studies to be false for most sports (gymnastics may be an exception). Not only is playing multiple sports better to help avoid injuries, but it also makes better players at their chosen sport.
As a University of Michigan graduate it pains me a bit to turn to Ohio State’s football coach, Urban Meyer for a helpful example...but he points out that the overwhelming majority of the kids he recruits play more than one sport.
USA today had a good article a few years ago that also discussed this:
Coaches know this to be true: at his U-M quarterback camp, Jim Harbaugh spent the first part of camp having the quarterbacks play baseball so he could evaluate their overall athleticism. In this Detroit Free Press article he explains how he was looking for people who can move athletically and not just robots who learned how to throw a football.
Playing multiple sports makes you better at all sports! Check out 4 reasons why as explained by Sport Psychology coach Dr. Rob Bell.
Last summer I had the opportunity to talk to Kirk Cousins about single sport specialization and asked him what his experience as a player was. He confirmed that he, as well as most of his high school, college, and professional teammates played multiple sports growing up. Watch the video that we put together on this subject:
As you can see, there are plenty of professionals in full support of multiple sport athletes.
Next month, I'll talk about ways of preventing throwing injuries, the importance of proper rest and rehab and follow up, and when surgical treatment might be necessary if you or your student athlete experience a sports-relation injury.
Keeping you in the game,
Bruce Stewart, MD
Holland Hospital Sports Medicine