Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

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January 24, 2013

Fitness column: Protein is answer to multiple questions

(Continued)

9. Follow the 90-percent rule. If you follow your plan 90 percent of the time, you will succeed. It is OK to treat yourself once in a while as long as the treat does not become the norm.

Question: What are the most common injuries in kids and how can we avoid them?

Answer: One alarming pattern we see now is the rapid rise of “overuse” type injuries in younger and younger athletes. All too often parents get pulled into a “more is better” syndrome by enrolling their children in too many programs. It is not uncommon to see a young athlete participating for town-based teams, along with one or even two different private teams.

The sport of hockey is notorious for this pattern. I was at a presentation once by Boston Bruin Hall of Famer Ray Bourque and former Bruins player and coach Steve Kasper. Both men presented the same message. I paraphrase: “Get off the skates once in a while! Do other sports and gain other skills. It will help your game, not hurt it.”

By participating in one sport too often athletes are at risk of overuse injuries common for that particular sport. This is dangerous and unhealthy. Often we see athletes competing in multiple games throughout the week and even more during tournaments on the weekend. They are simply not prepared properly to be competing so often, and injury is often the result.

Another effect of this level of specializing is burnout. Athletes asked to compete at only one sport at the expense of all else often grow to hate that sport and quit altogether.

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