The New York Times has reported thatchildren who take part in overly competitivesports run the risk of suffering muscleand joint injuries at a much earlier agethan their peers who do not engage insuch sports. Doctors in pediatric sportsmedicine are treating injuries in childrenthat they once saw only in adults. Accordingto the US Consumer Product SafetyCommission, more than 3.5 millionsports-related injuries in children underage 15 were treated in the United Statesin 2003. Some of these injuries can causepermanent damage, increasing the riskthat these young athletes may sufferarthritis or require extensive surgery asthey get older.
Overuse syndrome—from playing thesame sport constantly instead of participatingin a variety of activities—occurs asa result of repetitive strain on specific tissueand muscle groups. Injuries occurwhen the muscles and joints are overworkedwithout time for adequate recovery.These injuries can include swimmer'sshoulder, little leaguer's elbow, runner'sknee, tennis elbow, Achilles tendinitis,and shin splints. These conditions candevelop into problems later in life, includingchronic arthritis.