Kinetics Physiotherapy & Rehabilitation: How much is too much – Youth Sport


How much is too much – Youth Sport

Recently in the mainstream media* there has been articles talking about the down side of early specialisation and overload in youth sport.  This is in keeping with a growing body of scientific research that has been conducted both here and internationally that is echoing these concerns. Given that so many of the members at AUT Millennium have children who are at an active age, the team at Kinetics Physiotherapy & Rehabilitation wanted to give a couple of tips for how to manage this ‘growing’ issue.

  1. During peak height velocity (when your child is growing at their most rapid rate, think 12-16yrs old)…structured sport adding up to more than 14 hours per week is guaranteed to cause injury.
  2. Those who specialise in a sport early actually have less of a chance of making it as an elite athlete.
  3. Early specialisation also commonly leads to overuse injuries, burnout, de-motivation and drop out.
  4. Taking a rest is NOT a bad thing.  Giving your child a week or two off when they are experiencing growth related pains is not going to harm their ability to perform.  In fact by letting them continue they may sustain a serious injury that would most definitely affect their performance.  Prevention is the best treatment.

At Kinetics Physiotherapy & Rehabilitation we see a large number of youth athletes with a variety of injuries.  The vast majority of these could have been avoided by simply taking a rest when the early warning signs presented.

If you are concerned about the volume of sport your child is participating in or if they are constantly getting injured, feel free to come in for an assessment and chat about how to best manage their active lifestyles.



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After well over a decade working as a musculoskeletal physiotherapist; David joined the team at Kinetics stepping into the role of Principal and owner. David has worked with the Championship winning NZ Breakers basketball team and continues in a role as a touring physiotherapist with Athletics New Zealand. Previously David has worked as a consultant sports physio to Triathlon USA and Triathlon Canada working alongside multiple Olympians including Rio 2016 Gold Medalist Gwen Jorgenssen. With his own background as a World Championship representative duathlete, David combines his clinical knowledge with a personal understanding of the demands in high performance sport. David has a strong interest in gym based rehabilitation and is passionate about injury prevention for youth athletes. This has led to completing post-graduate studies in spinal manipulation, sports physiotherapy, dry needling, injury prevention and more. In addition to clinical physiotherapy; David works weekly as a post-surgical consultant to orthopaedic surgeon Mr Warren Leigh. This has involved developing post-surgical rehab protocols and an expertise in custom knee bracing for complex injuries.