Over the past decade, there has been a surge in the number of sports opportunities available to young athletes. Although physicians, parents, and coaches should promote healthy activity and participation, intense training at a young age can predispose exuberant young athletes to certain difficulties. Elite young athletes are at risk for overuse and growth plate injuries in certain sports. Intense training combined with inadequate nutrition may cause growth delay in elite young athletes, but this delay does not appear to affect permanent adult height. Weight training, when done properly, is safe and effective for prepubescent and pubescent athletes. Awareness of neurobehavioral development can help guide the process for appropriate sports participation. Young athletes should be closely monitored for signs of excessive physical and emotional stress so that sports participation can be fun and rewarding.
Address: *University of Wisconsin-Madison, Department of Pediatrics, 2870 University Avenue, Suite 200, Madison, WI 53705, USA. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
© 2004 American College of Sports Medicine