Mar 11, 2020
Avoiding overuse injuries and burnout in student-athletes

OAK BROOK, Ill. / PRNewsire / — For today’s youth athletes, it’s common to focus exclusively on one sport (sports specialization) throughout the year or to transition from one sport to the next with little or no break in between. According to Athletico Physical Therapy athletic trainers, this tendency can contribute to overuse injuries, such as tendonitis, muscle strains and soft tissue injuries, which can sideline or burnout athletes, preventing them from reaching their goals.

Avoiding Overuse Injuries and Burnout in Student Athletes
Photo: National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA)

March is National Athletic Training Month (NATM), and Athletico’s athletic training team is using the observance as an opportunity to educate parents, coaches and athletes about the importance of complete athleticism and rest in youth sports. This year’s NATM theme is “Athletic Trainers Impact Health Care Through Action,” and as accredited and certified professionals, athletic trainers ensure young athletes practice appropriate preparation, game day and recovery techniques, allowing them to perform at their peaks and reducing the likelihood of injury.

While research suggests many athletes and parents perceive sports specialization as a key ingredient for achieving their athletic goals, that strategy can backfire.

“When young athletes start to focus on one sport at an early age, or overtrain and play without taking proper rest and recovery days, they are putting themselves at risk for increased injury and burnout,” said Jason Bannack, Athletico’s vice president of outreach services. “Athletico’s athletic trainers work closely with athletes, parents and coaches to identify the warning signs and provide best practices to set athletes up for success.”

» Related: Tips to help student-athletes avoid injuries in the weight room

The National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) recommends athletes delay specializing in a single sport for as long as possible and encourages them to participate in a variety of sports and activities throughout the year, which supports general physical fitness, athleticism and reduces the risk of injury.

In addition, Athletico athletic trainers are providing three tips that youth athletes, parents and coaches should incorporate to keep athletes healthy and in the game:

  • Know the signs of burnout: Athletes can burn out physically and mentally. Common signs of burnout include decreased performance, constant aches and pains, poor sleep or appetite, sluggishness, poor grades and fading passion for sports.
  • Seek out active-recovery activities: NATA recommends young athletes should have a minimum of two days off per week from organized training and competition. For athletes who are determined to stay active on their off days, Athletico athletic trainers suggest active-recovery activities, such as swimming, that provide a workout without stressing the body.
  • Let student athletes be kids: Be mindful of student athletes becoming overscheduled. Instead, encourage young athletes to take time off or simply play with their friends. Staying active outside of organized sports also has tremendous physical and emotional benefits.

In honor of this year’s NATM theme, Athletico’s athletic trainers are sharing a detailed list of best practices to help parents better understand tips for proper rest and injury prevention.

At Athletico, about 400 athletic trainers work alongside physical therapists to provide comprehensive sports medicine support for patients on and off-the-field. Patients can address any concerns with a free assessment – in-person at a local Athletico clinic or online through our virtual assessments.

NATM is coordinated in conjunction with the National Athletic Training Association. Athletico has been an active supporter of the National Athletic Training Association since 1991.

About Athletico Physical Therapy
Athletico Physical Therapy provides the highest quality orthopedic rehabilitation services to communities, employers and athletes in over 525 locations throughout twelve states with more than 5,500 employees. Athletico is committed to our patients and referring physicians through our patient-centric focus, positive work environment, attention to quality and high standard of care. Athletico measures patient outcomes and satisfaction and is dedicated to continuous improvement. Athletico was named #1 Workplace in Chicago, “Best Physical Therapy Practice in the Nation” by ADVANCE magazine, Top Workplace in the Nation and has been recognized as a leader in employee volunteering and charitable giving. Our services include physical and occupational/hand therapy, workers’ compensation, women’s health therapy, concussion management and athletic training. For more information, or to schedule a free assessment in-clinic or now online with our virtual free assessments, visit and follow us on Twitter at @athletico.

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