Current Trends and Impact of Early Sports Specialization in the Throwing Athlete

Forrest L. Anderson, Michael L. Knudsen, Christopher S. Ahmad, Charles A. Popkin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Early sports specialization (ESS) is a relatively new trend that has led to many youth athletes to focus on only 1 sport at an increasingly young age. Although parents and coaches perceive that this will improve their athlete's chances of success at the collegiate and professional levels, studies have shown the opposite. ESS leads to increased injury risk, higher rates of burnout, and lower lifelong sports participation without increasing elite achievement. Throwing athletes are particularly vulnerable to these overuse injuries of the shoulder and elbow, which have been shown to correlate directly to the number of throws and innings played.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)517-525
Number of pages9
JournalOrthopedic Clinics of North America
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Dr F.L. Anderson has nothing to disclose. Dr M.L. Knudsen is a team physician for the Minnesota Twins. Dr C.S. Ahmad or immediate family member is a consultant for, receives educational support from, is a paid speaker/presenter for, and receives research support from Arthrex; receives research support from Major League Baseball and Stryker; receives royalties from Arthrex and Lead Player; has received hospitality payments from Arthrex and DePuy Synthes; and has stock/stock options in At Peak. He is the head team physician for the New York Yankees. Dr C.A Popkin or an immediate family member has received educational support from Arthrex and has received hospitality payments from Smith & Nephew, Arthrex, and Gotham Surgical Solutions and Devices.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier Inc.


  • Early sports specialization
  • Throwing athlete
  • Youth sports injury

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Review

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