Guidelines To Reduce Overuse Injuries In Young Athletes

Dr. Neeru Jayanthi sees quite a few young athletes in the primary care and sports medicine clinics at Loyola University Health System and the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. Surprised by the growing number of sports-related injuries he was treating, he organized a research project to track and document patterns in their occurrence.  Since its start in 2010, the study has enrolled 1,190 kids, ages 7 to 18, with the goal to follow them over three years of sports participation.  In his latest update, Dr. Jayanthi reported that kids from families who can afford private health insurance are much more likely to specialize in one sport and, as a result, suffer more serious overuse injuries than children on public health programs.

In previous research updates, the Loyola team has found some interesting twists in youth sports injuries. For those kids that spent more hours per week either practicing or competing in a single sport than their age, they were 70% more likely to pick up an overuse injury, like tennis elbow, stress fractures, youth pitching elbow, runner’s knee, Achilles tendinitis or shin splints.  So, if a 10 year old soccer player spent more than 10 hours per week on the field, their chance of injury jumped by over two-thirds.

At the recent American Medical Society for Sports Medicine Annual Meeting, Dr. Jayanthi reported that the athletes and their parents were surveyed on their socioeconomic status to look for differences across families.  Focusing on just one sport was much more common in families that had private health insurance, with 30% of those athletes specializing versus 18% of those with public insurance.  The data also showed that kids who were restricted to a single sport had about 2-3 hours less per week of unstructured play, whether that be just running around outside, pick-up games of any sport, bike-riding, etc.

Due to repetitive use of the same muscles, 13% of private insurance athletes suffered a serious overuse injury as compared to just 8% of public insurance kids.

“Intense specialization in one sport can cost thousands of dollars a year in equipment, fees, transportation, private lessons, etc.,” Dr. Jayanthi said. “Having the financial resources to afford such costs may provide increased opportunities for young athletes to participate in a single sport.”

His recommendations for parents to limit these injuries include:

  1. Increase the amount of unstructured free play.  Spend at least twice as many hours per week in free play than structured sports.
  2. Do not spend more hours per week than your age playing sports.
  3. Do not specialize in one sport before late adolescence.
  4. Do not constantly play competitive sports. Take at least 2-3 months off per year.
  5. Take at least one day off per week from sports training.

To help parents understand and manage their children’s sports schedules, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and the National Athletic Trainers Association have created a campaign called Stop Sports Injuries.

“Kids often receive pressure from their parents or coaches to be the best in one given sport, when in reality participating in free play and a multitude of sports from an early age is the best strategy to create an outstanding athlete,” said William Levine, MD, Chair of the STOP Sports Injuries Advisory Committee.

By following these common sense guidelines, kids can still develop their skills in their favorite sports but also avoid time on the sidelines because of preventable injuries.

Energy Drinks May Give Kids Wings And Head Injuries

For over 10 years now, our kids have been encouraged to “unleash the beast” because their favorite energy drink will “give you wings.” Along with their slogans, these beverage companies have sponsored and promoted the meteoric rise of action sports competitions around the world, not to mention free-fall jumps from outer space. They’ve created a culture and attitude fueled by lots of caffeine and sugar.

For many kids, this has been the shot of courage and individuality that they were waiting for outside of the traditional sports scene. But this bold, adventure-seeking life has also raised the risk of injury as the promise of “wings” has not always agreed with the law of gravity.

In fact, researchers at the University of Toronto recently found that teenagers who suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in the last 12 months were an astounding seven times more likely to drink at least five energy drinks per week than teens who had not had a serious head injury. Even more sobering was that kids with a reported TBI were twice as likely to have mixed an energy drink with alcohol than those that had no similar injury.

While once thought to be just a fad, the energy drink industry shows no signs of slowing down. While carbonated soda sales are flat, energy drinks keep flying high with sales up 11% last month over the previous year. Back in 1999, the world market for energy drinks was worth $3.8 billion but has since exploded to $27.5 billion in 2013.

Dr. Michael Cusimano, a neurosurgeon at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, led a research team to find any correlation between serious head injuries and energy drink consumption. No one had yet put the two together for analysis. He was surprised by the findings.

“We’ve found a link between increased brain injuries and the consumption of energy drinks or energy drinks mixed with alcohol,” said Dr. Cusimano. “This is significant because energy drinks have previously been associated with general injuries, but not specifically with TBI.”

The data for the study came from a huge survey from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health of over 10,000 students between the ages of 11 and 20, known as the 2013 Ontario Student Drug Use and Health Survey. The kids took the anonymous survey in their classrooms and were told that a TBI was a head injury that caused them to lose consciousness for at least five minutes or be hospitalized for at least one night. Overall, 22.4% of the students reported at least one TBI.

The startling finding was the direct correlation between energy drinks and TBIs. The results did not say that kids were necessarily drinking at the time of their injury, just that those who regularly drank energy drinks were seven times more likely to also report a TBI than those who stayed away from those drinks.

The research has been published in PLOS ONE.

“It is particularly concerning to see that teens who report a recent TBI are also twice as likely to report consuming energy drinks mixed with alcohol,” said Dr. Robert Mann, senior scientist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto and also part of the research team. “While we cannot say this link is causal, it’s a behaviour that could cause further injury and so we should be looking at this relationship closely in future research.”

As the researchers concluded, they’re not sure what to make of this relationship but it was so overwhelming that they needed to report it and then design more research to find out more. Is it the caffeine boost that makes kids feel invincible or the fact that their favorite action sports hero promotes it or a combination of both? For now, it’s just something for parents to keep their eye on.


By Dan Peterson, TeamSnap’s Sports Science Expert

5 Tips on How to Build Team Chemistry

Recently, 2014 World Cup Golden Boot Award winner James Rodriguez ended an underwhelming three year spell with soccer club Real Madrid. Oddly enough, he immediately returned to his 2014 form after joining a new club called Bayern Munich.

Real Madrid and Bayern Munich might be the two biggest soccer clubs in the world right now. So why did Rodriguez play poorly for one and excellently for the other? The answer is team chemistry!

Team chemistry is vital. With it, teams prosper. Without it, teams fail to live up to expectations. As such, we’ve compiled our best tips for building the most vital ingredients to team success.

Spend Time Together Off the Field

Have you ever seen two teammates who always know where the other is on the field? That is the type of chemistry that is build through time spent together.

As a coach, you can build this team chemistry by encouraging your team to spend time together off of the field. Organizing meals after practice, planning movie nights and scheduling overnight trips to tournaments helps to build subtle connections that keep your players working together.

Find a Balance

While practice is the time to develop new skills, it should also be a time to develop team chemistry. Games like possession and small sided scrimmages help players not only learn to play at game speed, but also help to build relationships between teammates.

Encourage Team Unity

When players build chemistry, they expect each other to be on the same page. For example, if a through ball gets away and no one runs after it, it might seem like a poor pass. However, the passer might’ve expected a teammate to see the same opening they saw and make the run. As the coach it is important to not only recognize this change, but to encourage it. The more players play together, the more they’ll recognize these sorts of non-intuitive plays.

Foster Leadership

Soccer HeaderEvery team needs leaders. One way to find them is to appoint team captains. But captaincy isn’t about recognizing the best individual players. Rather, it is about rewarding those who help out the team on the field. This could be the central defender who keeps everyone’s head in the game, or the goalie who’s always the first to practice and the last to leave. Leadership isn’t about the individual; it’s about making those around you better.

Improve Communication

Communication is the backbone of any successful soccer team. From letting your teammates know whether or not they have a defender behind them to organizing the defense, a successful team needs players in constant communication. You can improve team communication simply by promoting its importance from the very first practice. It should be considered when choosing captains, since the coach shouldn’t need to constantly yell from the sideline.

The importance of team chemistry cannot be overstated. Use these guidelines for the coming season to get everyone on the same page!

From TeamSnap Community Blog writer Jack Ramos

Fly Like an Eagle 5k News

Packet Pick-Up Schedule

Friday 8/11 5-7 PM

Saturday 8/12(Race Day) 730-830 AM

Fly Like An Eagle 5K Run/Walk

The Assumption Athletic Boosters Club presents the 2017 “Fly Like an Eagle” 5k fun run/walk.

  • August  12th 2017

  • Race starts at 9:00 AM

  • Kids 1/2 mile fun run starts at 10:00 AM

This event supports the Athletic Boosters and Student Athletes of Assumption Blessed Virgin Mary school.

The course runs through the scenic heart of Belmont.

Last year’s event had over 200 participants which included adults and children. We want to thank all of the men and women that participated. Also a big thank you to all the volunteers that go largely unnoticed.

Thank You!

Communication in Coaching

Coaching is all about improvement. If you want to help your players get better, it’s important to always improve your coaching skills, too. That’s why we’re thrilled to bring you these communication tips from the Hardwood Hustle podcast. Check out some of our favorites:

Basketball HuddleTip No. 1: “It’s so easy to stay on the surface level with people, but try to make an effort to go deeper with your communication. Get to someone’s background, their goals and passions, because being able to connect on a deep level with someone allows for some of the best communication possible.”

Tip No. 2: “Make sure you are always communicating in your audience’s language. You may need to get right to the point or even slow down, or dive deeply into the ‘why’ behind what you are communicating. Take time to understand their language, and you will be better able to communicate your message.”

Tip No. 3: “Knowledge and communication go hand in hand. Great leaders are always learning, and the more you know about something the better you are able to communicate effectively in that area.”

Tip No. 4: “Take the approach of less is more. Coaches can be guilty of over-communicating in practice, giving our players so many things to work on at once that they have a hard accomplishing any of it. Simplify your communication in practice and try to keep main points to three or less, and see if your players are better able to focus and achieve the main goals for that day’s practice.”rp_Soccer-Coach_web.jpg

Tip No. 5: “As you prepare to have any difficult conversations with your team, you must approach the situation with a perfect balance of grace and truth. All ‘truth’ may create some tension and a defensive player. All ‘grace’ may lead to a player feeling better but without the actual issue being addressed. Before you address the player, think about how you can blend and balance grace and truth to have the most productive conversation possible.”

Tips to stay safe

Baseball is a relatively low-impact sport that can still cause a broad range of injuries if players aren’t carefully prepared. From pulled muscles in the arms to head injuries, players are at risk every time they take to the field. However, it is possible to protect yourself from the dangers of the game by taking a few necessary precautions.

The following five tips are the best ways to stay safe at a baseball game. Many of them may seem like they are little more than common sense, but they are so common for a reason: they work. Make sure to follow this advice when you take to the field to stay happy, healthy, and able to play baseball another day.

Baseball Player1. Always Wear Your Protective Gear

When it comes time to play a pickup game, it’s easy just to ignore your safety gear and jump out on the field. This move is a grave mistake. Safety equipment is designed to protect you against the serious concerns that can occur on the baseball field. Without it, you open yourself to any number of minor or severe issues.

For example, if you don’t wear a helmet when you bat, you run the risk of a huge hit on the head that could knock you unconscious. Even worse, it could cause brain damage or possibly death. Other pieces of safety equipment, like knee pads, are an important way of protecting your legs from serious injury.

2. Take a Break When You’re Tired

Everybody wants to be the hero when they’re out on the field. Pushing yourself a little harder than necessary is part of the fun of playing sports. However, there is a chance you could push yourself just a little too far for your good. For example, pitching an excessive number of innings could put a severe strain on your arm.

That stress could cause serious problems, such as pulled muscles, that could become even more severe later on down the road. Taking a rest when you feel tired is not a shameful thing to do. In fact, it can be an important way of avoiding overworking your body, your muscles, and causing bad issues that would never have occurred otherwise.

3. Always Warm Up Before You Play

Warming up your muscles and lungs before you play baseball is one of the most significant ways of avoiding injury. Sure, it can feel redundant to throw the ball around on the field for 15 minutes before playing. However, it can get your muscles working in a relaxed manner and prepare them for the more challenging experiences that lay ahead.

Warm ups to consider include light jogs, throwing drills, batting practice, stretches, and even sprints. Working your lungs and your body will not only protect you from injury but get your blood flowing. This increased blood flow will boost your level of energy naturally and give you more strength. It will also make more blood available if you do get injured, helping your wounds heal more quickly.

4. Avoid Excessive Contact

While baseball is not a contact sport, there are instances when it may be unavoidable. For example, you may hit slightly into basemen when running or even collide with a teammate when trying to field a ball. These instances may seem comical to those who are watching the game, but they can lead to injuries as severe as concussions when they do occur.

Baseball in GrassYou should also just accept the tag out at home base if the catcher has the ball. Running into the catcher, or even through them, could injure both you and that player. It is also typically frowned upon or even illegal in most leagues. Try to slide around them when at all possible, but if you’re out dead to rights, just accept the tag and avoid the injury.

Another way to prevent contact injuries is to stop sliding when it isn’t necessary. Yes, sliding is a lot of fun and even dramatic, but there’s no need to slide into the home base if you’re in no danger of being thrown out. Sliding can cause a lot of impact on the body when done too often. It can cause scrapes, strains, and even sprains. So keep on your feet unless you can’t avoid it.

5. Stretch Before Playing

Baseball players should perform a series of simple exercises to protect their body from injury while on the field. Just a few of these stretches include:

  1. Sleeper Stretch – This stretch consists of moving the shoulders and arms in gentle ways to decrease the potential strain on the arms and keep the player from getting injured.
  2. Serratus Slide – Performing this stretch consists of rotating the shoulder blades up and down, in simple circles, as a way of decreasing tension.
  3. Rotation Hip Stretch – Bend your knees forward at 90 degrees, spread your feet as far apart as is comfortable, and touch your toes to complete this stretch.
  4. Pec corner Stretch – Press your throwing shoulder against the corner of a wall and turn your body and head away from the wall as far as you can.

By performing these simple warm-up exercises, the baseball player can prevent serious injuries and keep themselves in great shape. They are also a good way to directly work the body and prepare for the hard experience that lay ahead.

Be safe out there!

Baseball Field Maintenance

In-Season Tips

While it’s important not to ignore off-season field chores, the bulk of the field maintenance will take place during the season. This includes regular mowing, infield raking and preservation throughout the season. Here’s a closer look at each:

  • Mowing: On most youth fields, mowing will only be done on the outfield, but there are some youth baseball fields that have grass in the infield as well. When mowing, never take more than one-third off the total grass length. Also, use a mower with sharp blades, as dull blades can damage the grass. To make the field look extra nice, try to mow in straight lines or eye-catching patterns.
  • Infield Raking: The more the field is played on, the more the infield dirt is due to be jostled. Regular infield raking and spike dragging should be performed and topped off by having it rolled with a 1-ton roller. If a roller isn’t available, don’t skip the raking and spike-dragging steps. This helps keep the infield area neat and playable.
  • Preservation: When it rains in a professional baseball stadium, the infield is covered with a tarp. Your youth baseball field likely doesn’t have the same luxury, but try, at least, to cover the pitcher’s mound with a protective tarp between games. This helps prevent mound erosion and limits the amount of in-season maintenance you’ll have to make. Lip sweeping and raking should also be done at least weekly and mound plates should be checked on a weekly basis, too.

Just because youth baseball players play ball on a youth field doesn’t mean you can’t give them a great ball-playing experience. Remember, a well-kept youth baseball field doesn’t just look great, it also allows for safer gameplay. When it’s youth sports, a safe, enjoyable experience should be the No. 1 goal.

Football Sign-Ups

Hello Sport Fans:


Well the Spring sport season has begun – with practices underway.  Hopefully the schedules will be out soon!


We are now looking ahead to Fall sports – as Signups will all be starting soon.  At this time Football signups are now underway.  Any student interested in participating in 5/6th or 7/8th grade football should sign up at the following link:


2017 Football Sign-up


Please sign up as soon as possible – which will help out with team formations, mergers etc.


Other Fall sport sign ups will be posted in the near future.


If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.


Thank You,




Kim A Mis



Eagle Club Membership Flyer

Spring Fund Drive for the AABC Eagle Club Membership is happening now. Below is the link for our push for your support. Please take a moment and see what you can contribute to help us for our sports season.




Assumption Athletics Eagles Club Levels Spring Drive 2017