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Overuse injuries in young athletes on the rise

For Immediate Release: October 28, 2013

Contact Information:
Eric Cardin, SCPT Executive Director, 508-366-7899

WESTBOROUGH _ A recent study that was presented at the 2013 American Medical Society for Sports Medicine is raising eyebrows and causing concern for parents with young children participating in sports. That study showed that young athletes who train intensively in one sport have a “significantly higher” risk of stress fractures and overuse injures, when compared to other athletes.

According to the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM), the effect of overuse injuries which impacts young athletes in the short-term, often leads to long-term issues. Additionally, the AOSSM noted that “professional level” injuries are occurring in much younger athletes.

Overuse injuries are more prevalent today and, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, this can be attributed to the increased popularity in organized youth sports, and the pressure for children to specialize in only one sport. In the recent past, children changed sports with the season, but today, it is more common for a child to play one sport year-round. Additionally, many children play on more than one team at the same time. By having a child participate in just one sport for the entire year, he or she is continually using the same muscle group and applying the same unchanging stress to specific parts of the body. This, combined with over-training and non-substantial rest periods, puts a child at risk for overuse injuries.

“This study confirms what we’ve seen in our offices,” said Eric Cardin, Executive Director of South County Physical Therapy, Inc. (SCPT). “Over the years we have seen young athletes for overuse-related issues. Younger and younger patients are coming to us with ‘old person’ injuries. Specialization and over scheduling are key factors, as well as lack of proper preparation and prevention. In the past few years, we have really tried to do our part to reverse this trend through education. Whether it is lecturing to groups of parents and coaches, or running injury prevention clinics, we are committed to help reduce injuries in adolescent athletes.”

For 28 years, the physical therapists at SCPT have been treating all ages and skill levels of professional and amateur athletes to assist with the rehabilitation of sports related injuries and the prevention of future injuries.

With fall sports in full swing, it’s imperative for athletes, coaches and parents to be aware that a support system is readily available, since the concern about overuse injuries in younger athletes continues to rise.

“We provide our staff with annual education and enroll them in additional coursework at organizations throughout the northeast. We also reach out to both Central Massachusetts and Boston area orthopedic and sports medicine physicians for their current protocols regarding post-operative care. We feel that this exposes our staff to cutting edge technologies that they can utilize,” said Cardin. “Our patients benefit from the best of both worlds – nearly three decades of our stellar reputation for renowned care, and our commitment to the next level with continuous education for our staff.”

Each SCPT office has an active staff who participates in a variety of sports-related activities, which include: alpine racing, ballet and competitive dancing, basketball, cheering, college gymnastics, competitive swimming, cycling, golfing, lacrosse, marathoners, running, soccer, and triathlons.  Over the years, SCPT therapists have donated their personal time and professional expertise to help benefit local groups, such as the Westborough Little League, Westborough High School track team, AAU Basketball teams, and Millbury High School teams in preventing sports related injuries.

“We are fortunate to have strong relationships with local physicians and regularly consult with doctors, coaches and parents to ensure a smooth transition to help a young athlete return back to his or her sport,” Cardin said.

Cardin, along with Assistant Director Jennifer Lenkauskas (East Main St., Westborough), Director Chad Zannotti (Millbury), Assistant Director Grant Pattee (Charlton), and Physical Therapist Tara Colorio (Auburn), are all Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialists through the National Strength and Conditioning Association.

“This designation is highly valued in our company and signifies further study and commitment to knowledge in the area of sports medicine,” Cardin continued.

SCPT’s commitment to injury prevention and injury rehabilitation runs deep. The organization is part of the STOP Sports Injuries, a campaign created by the AOSSM to help parents, coaches, healthcare providers, and athletes to learn more about the prevention, treatment and long-range consequences of overuse and trauma injury.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has noted that participation in organized sports in on the rise.  Nearly 30 million children and adolescents participate in youth sports in the U.S. and, of those, there are approximately 3.8 million incidences of sports-related injuries yearly.

Some of conditions that SCPT physical therapists commonly treat include:

  • ACL Reconstruction
  • Achilles Tendon Repair
  • Tommy John Surgery
  • Triceps/biceps Tendon Repair
  • Rotator Cuff Repair
  • Femoral Acetabular Impingement
  • Hip Labral Surgery
  • Shoulder Surgery

“Our goal is to create a unique partnership between all healthcare sports medicine providers and a continuum of care, in order to return athletes of all abilities and ages safely back to their activities,” Cardin said.

For nearly 30 years, South County Physical Therapy, Inc. has been dedicated to providing its patients with quality, personalized rehabilitative care in an environment that is safe, comfortable and compassionate. As a privately owned company, the organization has given back to numerous charitable organizations in the communities it serves, and seeks to make a difference in promoting wellness and health awareness. For more information, visit

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