The Effects of Endurance Sports on Children and Youth

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In the United States, youth participation in sports continues to increase yearly. This increase in participation, in conjunction with the trend toward early sports specialization and year round training, has led to a similar increase in athletically developed injuries. These injuries vary in nature and acuity, with the type of injury often related to the athlete’s age, sport, and level of training. Endurance athletes are at an elevated risk of injury as they frequently push their body to the limit during their arduous training. Pediatric endurance athletes can be particularly vulnerable, especially to overuse injuries, given their unique and ever-changing physiological state. It is important to understand the specific challenges facing not only the physical, but also the emotional well-being of these pediatric endurance athletes to maximize performance while minimizing injury and potential long-term sequelae.

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