Editorial: Playing Multiple Sports is Better than Playing One

Elaina Joyner, Reporter

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Meet Kate Smith. She is very athletic and wants to pursue sports in college. Not only does Kate enjoy sports, but she thinks she can earn a scholarship for a college of her dreams. Is Kate going to be more successful if she plays one sport or plays multiple sports?

Science shows that playing multiple sports will lead to more success in the future.

Many experiments have been conducted to see the best way to avoid injuries. Dr. Timothy A. McGuine, Senior Scientist Research Coordinator at the University of Wisconsin, found that sport specialization leads to an increased chance of injury.

“Athletes who classified themselves as moderately specialized had a 50% higher incidence of LEI (lower extremity injury) and athletes who had a high specialization classification had an 85% higher incidence of LEI,” said McGuine.

McGuine discovered that sports specialization was a risk factor for injuries. Overuse is a common injury seen in a single sport athlete. According to Health.UConn, single sport athletes are 70% more likely to experience overuse injuries.

“While they are still growing, their muscles and tendons are stronger than their bones. This can lead to overuse injuries to the growth plate and chronic pain,” said Health.UConn.

Likewise, playing a single sport increases the chance of burn outs and decreases the passion for the sport. Many athletes who play a single sport commonly lose interest in their sport.

“For most athletes being pushed to play year round can cause them to lose the passion they once had. And usually, this means they won’t have the desire to play in college,” according to National Scouting Report, one of the oldest college sports recruiting services in America.

Majority of college and professional athletes did not specialize until they were older. Health.UConn stated that 88% of college athletes played multiple sports. In addition, 29 of the 32 first round draft picks for the NFL were two sport athletes, according to reporter Mick McCabe.

Furthermore, playing multiple sports helps to be a well-rounded athlete. Athletes who play multiple sports develop skills that compliment other sports. For example, if a football player does track or basketball, it helps to improve their footwork and hand eye-coordination, according to NSR. Gretzky also states that playing multiple sports gives kids time to rejuvenate to be ready to come back and enjoy the sport they love. Drew Brees, professional quarterback, gives credit to the many sports he played for helping him get to the athlete he is today.

“Kids should be playing as many sports for as long as they possibly can. You don’t realize is that all the sports combined is what makes you the athlete that you are” and “you will benefit greatly from all those other sports you played,” Brees told Stack magazine.

The right path is to play multiple sports to stay a healthy, passionate and well-rounded athlete. So next time you are considering joining another high school sport, give it a try.