Why Being a Multi-Sport Athlete is Better for Your Body

Why Being a Multi-Sport Athlete is Better for Your Body

After the recent 2018 NFL Draft, statistics were released showing that 29 of 32 (91%) of 1st round draft picks were multiple sport athletes. When asking one of our sports medicine physicians, Edward Khalfayan M.D. (who is also the Head Team Physician for the Seattle Seahawks and Mariners) what he thinks about the stat, he says, “I think it’s best to be a multi-sport athlete. Most of the athletes that I see with injuries are single sport athletes. The studies confirm this. Single sport athletes have a higher injury rate.”

People who commit to a single sport will typically experience an overuse injury. This is because many people that commit to a single sport or activity will participate in it for multiple seasons if not year round. This includes off-season practices, scrimmages, practice at home, workouts and conditioning, etc. When you are constantly subjecting the same muscle groups to exercise or tension it doesn’t give them time to heal.

There are four stages of an overuse injury:

  1. Pain in the affected area after physical activity
  2. Pain during the activity, without restricting performance
  3. Pain during the activity that restricts performance
  4. Chronic, unremitting pain even at rest

Tips on Avoiding an Overuse Injury

  1. Have at least 1 to 2 days off per week from competitive athletics, sport-specific training, and competitive practice (scrimmage) to allow them to recover both physically and psychologically.
  2. Weekly training time, number of repetitions, or total distance should not increase by more than 10% each week (eg, increase total running mileage by 2 miles if currently running a total of 20 miles per week).
  3. Take at least 2 to 3 months away from a specific sport during the year.
  4. Participate on only 1 team during a season. If the athlete is also a member of a traveling or select team, then that participation time should be incorporated into the aforementioned guidelines.
  5. Be sure to heal the muscles and joints with ice, heat therapy and massage during multi-game tournaments in short periods of time

Schedule an Appointment Today

If you think you might be suffering from an overuse injury, or have questions on how to avoid injury during either single or multi-sport seasons, please call (206) 386-2600 or visit our physicians page and schedule an appointment with one of our board-certified sports medicine physicians

For more information on overuse injuries, overtraining and burnout in athletes please visit: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/119/6/1242..info