The case for multiple sports

Dr. Tommy John

San Diego, Calif

I wanted to compliment Alex Eisen’s article highlighting Brett Davis and stressing that he is a multi-sport athlete. Youth participation in organized sports in the U.S. is rising, with many kids focusing on a single sport.

That’s despite the fact that research shows that young athletes spending over eight months annually in one sport not only increase their risk of injury by 70%, but they’re more likely to participate in less games, incur more major injuries, and have a shorter career.

As the son of retired MLB pitcher Tommy John, whose name is attached to a procedure that now affects more kids than pro athletes (Tommy John surgery), I wish more parents understood how having their kids play several sports is part of the solution.

I ask that your readers consider this: Among the 106 players on the Patriots’ and Eagles’ rosters, 102 played multiple sports in high school. And according to research, only 22.3% of pro athletes say they would want their child to specialize in just one sport. If you want your kid to turn pro-then consider that the pros already know that sports specialization isn’t the answer.

Dr. Tommy John, author of Minimize Injury, Maximize Performance