It’s that time of year when baseball is in full swing. Currently training athletes are already talking to me about the league that they will participate with in the summer…going right from one season into the next without any break…which may essentially be considered an extension of the December wood bat league that they hopped onto right after the fall ball season…the fall ball season that began last September only one month after all stars finished up in July…which brings us almost a full entire year of playing professional baseball…
BUT I DON’T CURRENTLY WORK WITH ANY PROFESSIONAL BASEBALL PLAYERS…!
AND PROFESSIONAL BASEBALL PLAYERS GET MORE TIME OFF THAN THE SCHEDULE I JUST DESCRIBED…!
I AM TALKING ABOUT YOUTH AND HIGH SCHOOL PLAYERS THAT PLAY MORE ACROSS THE COURSE OF A YEAR THAN PROFESSIONAL ATHLETES….IS THIS NECESSARY?...
MORE IMPORTANTLY…IS IT SAFE?
WHAT IF THEIR NEXT SEASON WOULD BE THEIR LAST BECAUSE THEY SUFFERED A SURGERY-REQUIRING INJURY? WAS BEING ON THE “ELITE” TRAVEL TEAM AT 12 YEARS OLD WORTH IT IF THEY NEVER PLAY AGAIN?
PD: The best advice you would give parents of a young athlete?
J.A.: The first thing I would tell them is, their kid needs at least two months off each year to recover from a specific sport. Preferably, three to four months. Example: youth baseball. For at least two months, preferably three to four months, they don't need to do any kind of overhead throwing, any kind of overhead sport, and let the body recover in order to avoid overuse situations. That's why we're seeing so many Tommy John procedures, which is an adult operation designed for professionals. In my practice now, 30 to 40 percent of the ones I'm doing are on high-schoolers, even down to ages 12 or 13. They're already coming in with torn ligaments.
Give them time off to recover. Please. Give them time to recover.
I said in the book, I want parents and coaches to realize the implications of putting a 12- or 13-year-old through the type of athletic work done by a 25-year-old. Parents and coaches, though they mean well, need to understand what the long-term effects of overuse can be.