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Early sports specialisation and the incidence of lower extremity injuries in youth athletes: current concepts
  1. Richard N Puzzitiello1,
  2. Coleen F Rizzo1,
  3. Kirsten D Garvey1,
  4. Elizabeth G Matzkin2,
  5. Matthew J Salzler1
  1. 1 Orthopedics, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  2. 2 Orthopaedic Surgery, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Matthew J Salzler, Orthopedics, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, MA 02111, USA; msalzler{at}


Year-round intensive, single-sport training beginning at an young age is an increasingly common trend in the youth athlete population. Early sport specialisation may be ineffective for long-term athletic success and contribute to an increased risk of physical injury and burn-out. The medical community has noted that repetitive movement patterns may occur in non-diversified activity and this may contribute to overuse injury in young athletes. Studies have begun to identify an association between early sport specialisation and lower extremity injuries in the youth athlete population that is independent of training volume. Recent literature has suggested that sport diversification, not specialisation, is a better path for athletic success and minimised lower extremity injury risk.

  • sports medicine
  • sports
  • epidemiology

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  • Contributors RNP substantially contributed to drafting and revising the work for important intellectual content, and to conception and design and final approval of the version to be published. CFR and KDG substantially contributed to conception and design of the work as well as drafting and revising the work. EGM and MJS substantially contributed to conception and design as well as to final approval of the version to be published.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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