By Dr. Brian McDonough

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – This is the time of year where spring sports are heating up. Many children in the 8 to 12-year-old range are involved in team sports where adults are coaching. In fact this has been a development over the past quarter-century where there is less free play of sports and more structured activity.

There are definitely some positive things about this. First it gives an opportunity for young and old to participate together in a positive activity. The second advantage is that children are often given an opportunity to learn sports in a fundamental way.

But there is a downside as well. In many cases far too much importance is placed on child play and in the worst case scenario children are encouraged to participate in extended games, potentially putting themselves at risk for overuse injuries. A classic example of that is when a young boy is pitching for three different teams in three different leagues.

The reason I bring this up is because adults who are supervising children need to be aware that they’re not simply little adults. They are growing and developing and can suffer injuries from too much play. It is important to be careful.

Reported By Dr. Brian McDonough, KYW Newsradio Medical Editor

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