Question:I have three daughters in gymnastics from ages seven to 12. Each one practices at least 20 hours a week. I worry about injuries. How much is too much?
Many studies have been done to study how much is âtoo muchâ for the young baseball pitcher. Similar studies havenât been done for gymnastics. The average serious gymnast puts in 14 to 20 hours a week.
Coaches, doctors, and parents are concerned about practice schedules. Doctors report that overuse injuries are on the rise. Injuries never seen before in children and young teens are now reported in emergency rooms and doctorâs offices.
More studies are needed to answer this question. Until then, parents and coaches can work together to find out whatâs best for each athlete. This is based on body size and type. Muscle strength is important, too.
Proper nutrition, rest, and adequate warm-ups are needed for all athletes. Pre-teen and adolescent girls must also take into consideration changes in hormones and the start of their menstrual cycle. Training hours may need to be adjusted around these issues.Matthijs R. Krijnen, MD, et al. Case Report. Arthroscopic Treatment of Osteochondritis Dissecans of the Capitellum: Report of 5 Female Athletes. In Arthroscopy. February 2003. Vol. 19. No. 2. Pp. 210-214.
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