- Aug 26, 2011
In part one of a two-part series, ESPN explores the dangers of youth basketball -- and how the culture of perpetual competition is jeopardizing the futures of the very stars it hopes to create.
We're seeing more and more of this at UConn even, with kids like Larrier, Gilbert, Diarra coming in with plenty of miles on their treads. I know it's not smart to generalize since many injuries have nothing to do with wear and tear, but knees, hips, shoulders and backs are indeed areas where there are a lot of problems from too much training and play.
We're battling this in my household where my child was simultaneously playing DA (US development academy) soccer, ODP (Olympic Development) soccer, and, depending on the season, her school soccer, basketball and softball teams. She was also doing strength and speed training once a week. It all came to a head in March when she had 4 consecutive weekends of soccer tournaments, and on Fridays she went skiing with her friends from 3 pm until 11 pm.
Don't know what we were thinking, but her body just broke down. Back problems. By mid April we pulled her out of sports. Totally. And now that she's improved, I am only allowing her to go to strength training this summer. And never again is she going to play multiple sports at the same time, and I'm telling her coaches that if they go overboard on tournaments again, she simply will not show up. The only thing I can't really do anything about is the skiing--but that's another story.