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Pushing Kids to Overuse Injuries

Posted May 27 2010 2:00am
Runners are all too familiar with overuse injuries. We feel a twinge of pain, most likely ignore it and plug along with our training. It hurts more, but we persevere to reach a certain goal at the expense of possibly not even being able to run the very race we're training for despite the pain. 

But what about athletic children who are being pushed to the limits? Not because the kids are pushing themselves, but because parents are getting a little too nutty and are ignoring the warning signs of overuse injuries in their own children. This is similar to an article I blogged about last August where parents are entering their eight-year-olds into kiddie Ironmans called IronKids.   YIKES!

Since most of you reading are mothers and/or runners, I thought this New York Times (5/24) article, Personal Health: The Breaking Point for Children in Sports , would be of interest. It states: 
"Too many young athletes are being pushed too hard by parents or coaches, risking their physical, and sometimes emotional, health."
According to the article, today's young athletes are going professional at younger and younger ages. Some parents may have the best intentions, but end up pushing their kid too far leading to tendinitis, osteochondrosis (a degenerative disease) and bone damage. 

" Whitney Phelps , the older sister of the Olympics wunderkind  Michael Phelps , was the swimmer to watch in the 1990s, until she burned out her body. Motivated by her mother, her coach and her own dreams of the Olympics, she recalls, she swam through pain in her back for years, pain sometimes so severe she could hardly stand up. At 14, Mr. Hyman recounts in his book, her arms would go numb when she turned her head, and she was found to have two bulging spinal discs, a herniated disc and two stress fractures."
I guess this sort of like the maniacal parents in "Toddlers & Tiaras".  Since Lil' Bubba is only 7 months old, I don't pay much attention to the kids' sporting events right now. Will I turn into one of those crazy-eyed, yelling parents on the side line?  I always say that I don't know how I'll be until I'm actually in the situation. But I do know my own pains from overdoing it... and I wouldn't want Lil' Bubba to suffer no matter how good (or bad) he is at any sport!

Any of you moms out there know a parent who's fanatical about their kid? Are YOU one of those parents? C'mon... you can tell me!

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