Originally published on Savvy Auntie.
A new study, reported by HealthDay News, finds that young athletes involved with just one sport are more likely to get injured than children who spend more time with general, unorganized sports and games. Meaning, injured single-sport athletes spent less time involved in free play than those who didn’t suffer injuries. According to Dr. Neeru Jayanthi, a sports medicine specialist at Loyola University Health System in Maywood, Ill.:
Our findings suggest that more participation in a variety of unorganized sports and free play may be protective of injury, particularly among tennis players.
For instance, the study found that uninjured tennis athletes spent only twice as much time playing the organized sport as they did in recreational free play while injured athletes spent more than five times the amount playing tennis as they did in unorganized recreation.
At Savvy Auntie, we have always encouraged and supported the benefits of free, open-ended play. Apart from giving those nieces and nephews more time for free play when you are together, here are a few tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics for preventing sports injuries.