Krush Performance: Specialization In Sport w/Dr. David Bell

KP - PHOTO FOR RI SHOWSpecialization In Sport

In this episode of Krush Performance, a very important conversation as we tear into specialization in sport.

Question: Do you think it is a good idea to specialize early or not?

We look at the success of sporting greats like Tiger Woods & the Williams Sisters and we think they did it so it must be the way to go. Then, you have to look at the majority of great athletes and when you do you’ll find that most come from multi sport back grounds.

Bo Jackson: Any sport he wanted!
Steven Nash: Soccer
Jerome Iginla: Baseball
Jim Thorpe: Pro football (13 yrs), MLB (7 yrs), Pro Basketball (2 yrs), 1912 Olympic gold in the Pentathlon & Decathlon

They don’t make ‘em like they used to!!!

On the surface, to specialize makes sense. If you have a young athlete that loves a sport, you want to support that with everything you have. Parents feel they need to give their kids an edge and focusing on a single sport is the way to go but could it be hurting your child’s athletic future? The evidence says yes! There is a big downside to specializing early!

Today, we talk with Dr. David Bell, Assistant Professor at the Department of Kinesiology Orthopedics and Rehabilitation at the University of Wisconsin. He is also the Director of the Wisconsin Injury In Sport Laboratory.

They have done some great research on the topic of early specialization in sport we’ll look at their findings and get their recommendations and guidelines for what we should be doing & thinking when it comes to participation in organized sport

Later in the show, we’ll look at why kids Love sport & why the drop out rates are the highest they have ever been.

We’ll look at the science and evidence that shows that specialization not only increases risk of injury, burnout and dropout rates but it can also greatly limit an athletes long term ceiling of potential.

When it comes to injuries in sport, here are some of the things we know:

1) In the NFL, 70% of recent ACL injuries are non-contact injuries

2) In hockey, the majority of injuries, including concussions, happen in the third period.

3) Specialization has resulted in an increase of overuse injuries, burnout, & dropout rates have skyrocketed.

4) Dehydration impacts decision making & reaction time.

5) Athletes who experience two injuries that cause missed time in a single season have a 40% higher dropout rate than athletes who experience one or none.

6) Sport injuries made up 35% of all reported injuries!

The TOP 3 most common injuries roll out like this:

3) Tennis or Golf Elbow: Around 7% of all sports injuries are elbow injuries.

2) Shoulder Injury: Shoulder injuries, including dislocations, sprains and strains, make up 20% of all sports injuries.

1) Patellofemoral Syndrome: About 55% of all sports injuries are knee injuries & make up 25% of problems treated by orthopedic surgeons

If you have any questions or comments, ideas for future shows get to us at

Subscribe to Krush Performance on iTunes or Stitcher!

About The Author

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.