There has been plenty written in the news lately about how kids are specializing in sports earlier these days, training harder than ever—in team sports in particular—to compete at higher and higher levels. This puts extra stress on growing bodies and often leaves parents on uncertain ground. As a parent of an athlete, I often wonder when my kid says, "It hurts here," how seriously I need to take it. Is this a bath and a good night's sleep after a tough work out, or is it a trip to the doctor? Like many parents I know, I sometimes find myself asking the coach for input, when really I should be asking a specialist.
Knowing a good resource for kids' sports injuries is a big help—which is why I'm excited to be writing about LA's Orthopaedic Institute for Children. It has given me a chance to get some of my own questions answered on the topic of parenting an athlete, and to share the info with other sports parents. I posed a few questions to the associate director of the Orthopaedic Institute for Children’s Center of Sports Medicine in Los Angeles, Dr. Jennifer Beck, who gave me some great information about supporting a young athlete, and about why the demanding nature of sports while a young body’s musculoskeletal system is rapidly changing can sometimes cause injuries.