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Longevity in Athletics: How Early Sport Specialization Can Change the Game

Longevity in Athletics: How Early Sport Specialization Can Change the Game

dc.contributor.advisor Babula, Taylor Arman Mason, Morgan
dc.contributor.editor Azarbad, Leila 2018-01-12T17:23:51Z 2018-01-12T17:23:51Z 2017-05-15 2017-05-15
dc.description.abstract Sport specialization is defined as intense, year-round training in as single sport with the exclusion of others (Jayanthi el al, 2012). Current research has shown that there has been a dramatic increase in youth sport participation over recent years, with a coexisting increasing of early sport specialization (ESS). The overall effect of ESS on longevity in athletics is not yet fully understood. Studies in current academic literature have not definitively established that ESS is either beneficial or detrimental to an athlete's physiological and psychological health (LaPrade et al, 2016; Mattson and Richards, 2010). However, some available evidence suggests active participation in ESS may lead to higher rates of physiological issues, including: overuse injuries, burnout, and emotional distress (DiFiori el al, 2014; Jayanthi et al, 2012; LaPrade et al, 2016). The objective of this research project is to provide an understanding of the factors that influence an athlete's appeal to specialize (coaches, parents, school size, choice of sport, etc.) and to determine the effect ESS has on longevity in athletic participation. A survey was develpoed utilizing Qualtics (2015, Provo, UT), and participants of the study included current students and student-athletes at a Midwest Division III college. This survey employed the use of multiple choice and open-ended questions. Results showed that a majority of participants specialized in sport (68.03%), with a majority beginning to specialize at age 11 or younger (23.49%). Participants who specialized reported high numbers of chronic injuries, yet they argue that specializing in sport was beneficial to their athletic success. With this information, recommendations can be made to the sporting public regarding early sport specializations. en_US
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.title Longevity in Athletics: How Early Sport Specialization Can Change the Game en_US
dc.type Thesis

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