A study by an Indian-origin author revealed that young tennis players, who specialize in only one sport, are more prone to injuries. In the Loyola University Health System study, which was conducted on 519 junior tennis players, researchers analyzed 3,366 matches in United States Tennis Association junior competition.
They found that players who specialized in only tennis were more likely to withdraw from tournaments for medical reasons, typically injuries.
AdvertisementAlso, players who had experienced an injury or tennis-related illness during the past year were 5.4 times more likely to withdraw from a tournament for medical reasons.
"Parents, coaches and players should exercise caution if there is a history of prior injury. And parents should consider enrolling their children in multiple sports," said Dr. Neeru Jayanthi, lead author of the study.
Players in the study began playing tennis at an average age of 6, began competing at age 9 and began to specialize at age 10.
Players practiced a median of 16 to 20 hours per week, and 93 percent said they competed at least ten months per year.
The study is the latest in a series of studies Jayanthi and colleagues have conducted on injuries in young tennis players.
Earlier studies found that junior players are more likely to withdraw for medical reasons if they play five or more matches in a single tournament.
"The heavy match volume takes its toll as the tournament progresses, and a relatively high number of these young tennis players not only sustain injury but are unable to compete any further," said Jayanthi.
Boys are more likely to withdraw for medical reasons than girls, and older teenagers are more likely to withdraw than younger adolescents.
Medical withdrawal rates are significantly higher in consolation and singles matches.
In some cases, players withdraw for medical reasons-even when they are not hurt-in order to save their rankings or because they have lost interest in playing in consolation matches.
The results of the study were presented at the international Society for Tennis Medicine and Science World Congress in Valencia, Spain.
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