How Far is Too Far
For many years now, I have questioned the effects that sports have on the human body, not just when you are playing them but also the effects they cause when you get older as well. Most people believe that playing sports,especially more than one, as you grow up is a good idea, and in fact at the time, it might be. But it also might not be. You can see how this might be counterintuitive. The fact that playing sports to be active as a child might lead to bad things later in life. As kids grow up around the elementary school age and start playing little league and pre-recreational sports we don’t really think about the minor injuries that they get because they are young and it will heal fast. But those kids often grow up and continue to play sports throughout middle school, high school, and some even go on to play in college level, and this is where it can get bad. The older kids get the more aggressive they get. And the urge to win increases, leaving them vulnerable on the field, court, etc. They also feel the need to be the best they can leaving them trying to constantly be better. Like Grant L Jones from Ohio State University, says in “Pediatric overuse injuries increase due to year round, one sport training,” ‘In most cases, our sources noted that excessive practice most likely leads to injury rather than perfection.”
I can remember growing up and playing recreational basketball in the 6 & 7th grade. I liked it and wanted to win but I didn’t really understand what it meant to be on a team, to have the fight to win with your team until I got into high school. It also wasn’t until high school that I started getting hurt playing sports. As you advance into higher level sports, you become more competitive because it means more to win not only for you but for your school as well. This means that some people will do whatever it takes to win, which might be being aggressive towards others or pushing your body to its highest limit, until it breaks. I was a 2 sport, 3 season athlete in high school and I remember how rigorous it was on my body. Just when I thought I was healthy and in shape I would get hurt, have to stop competing and I would fall out of shape again. This is not a healthy process for your body, yes it is good to be in shape, but what is your definition of in shape and healthy?
Some people, depending on who you are, would answer that with a textbook definition but in my opinion it is all up to the person that is being asked. If you were to ask a random stranger on the street what being healthy and in shape in sports meant that would be a totally different answer from an orthopedic sports doctor. And it would also be totally different depending on the person’s body you are talking about. Everyone’s body is different, especially when it comes to being active and fit, this is why certain people are prone to more injuries. Some people are made to play more than one sport growing up, but others are not, it is just simply too much. In the University of Vermont study, “Single Sport or Multi-Sport Athlete? Pros and cons,” author James Slauterbeck says that “multiple sport athletes often get injured if they participate in too many sports at one time.” He also goes on to say that “Overuse injuries can often occur because the body cannot rest as it is always practicing or playing a game.” If us young athletes start to over exert ourselves when we are young, imagine how that is going to affect when we are older.
I know for myself that the injuries I suffered running track will affect me for the rest of my life. I will forever have a backache because I over exerted myself and refused to say it. That is just one of the common injuries that athletes will face as they get older. According to “10 Sports Injuries with Lifelong Consequences,” by Tan Ken Jin from the Orthopaedic Surgeons of Mount Elizabeth Hospital, the injuries include “sprains, stress fractures, sciatica, and many others.” These are serious problems that can especially cause more harm for older adults who suffer from them. I didn’t say anything to my coach and trainer when I first started to feel pain because I knew that my career could possibly be over, and that is very common today with young athletes, especially those who see a future with sports. But what they don’t realize is that there will be no future if you don’t say anything as well. And their future with these injuries will just be worse as they age.
Although we have this idea that participating in afterschool activities, and sports from preteens to adults is a good way to stay in shape, be healthy, and show off our talents, it can have long lasting effects on our life to come. Yes, if you have a natural born talent for something and you enjoy it you should definitely continue it, but if you feel that your body is starting to take a toll, and you are starting to become prone to more injuries than it might be time to take a break. Because at this point you are no longer healthy if your body is suffering. But what is your definition of too much? Us humans have to realize that we only get one body and there’s only so many ways and things we can fix before it’s permanently damaged. We also need to understand that even if we are young and think that our bodies will heal fast, it will come back to hurt us when we get older. So all in all if you are a young athlete you need to really ask yourself is it worth it? Is playing 1 or 2 more games worth not being able to walk or enjoy my older years?
Jin, T. K. (2017, April 21). 10 Sports Injuries with Lifelong Consequences. Retrieved March 10, 2020
Slauterbeck, J. (2018, June 27). Kids’ Sports: Pros and Cons. Retrieved March 10, 2020
Jones, G. L. (2014, July 1). Pediatric overuse injuries increase due to year round, one sport training. Retrieved March 10, 2020