Youth sports have changed dramatically over the years, with more athletes specializing in one sport from an early age. In a three-part series, The Chronicle explores the impact of specialization on youth sports. Read the entire package of stories at www.sfchronicle.com/sports.
30 million: Children and adolescents who participate in youth sports in the United States
3.5 million: Children under age 14 who receive medical treatment for sports injuries each year
2 million: Injuries sustained annually by U.S. high school athletes
500,000: Annual doctor visits by U.S. high school athletes
30,000: U.S. high school athletes hospitalized each year
50 Percent of all sports injuries to middle school and high school students attributed to overuse
45 Percent of players ages 13 and 14 who will have arm pain during a single youth baseball season
40 Percent of all sports-related injuries (treated in hospitals) sustained by children ages 5 to 14
Since 2000, there has been a five-fold increase in the number of serious shoulder and elbow injuries among youth baseball and softball players.
Sources: www.stopsportsinjuries.org and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention