UW-Madison School of Education - In the Media

School of Education "In the Media"

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ESPN report showcases research of UW-Madison’s Bell on dangers of youth sports specialization

July 22, 2019

An ESPN report from Baxter Holmes showcases important research from UW-Madison's David Bell on the potential dangers associated with youth sports specialization.

Bell is a faculty member with the School of Education's Department of Kinesiology and its athletic training program.  Bell also is director of the Wisconsin Injury in Sport Laboratory (WISL).

David Bell
Bell
In a series of studies in 2017 and 2018, a team of researchers working with Bell found that while most youth athletes today believe specialization increases their performance and chances of making a college team, the majority of those who reached Division I level didn’t classify as highly specialized at the high school level.  

While the upsides of specialization are unclear, there are few doubts about the downsides, according to ESPN.

A separate 2016 study from Bell and his team found that 36 percent of high school athletes classified as highly specialized, training in one sport for more than eight months a year. Those athletes were two to three times more likely to suffer a hip or knee injury. 

The ESPN article, headlined " 'These kids are ticking time bombs': The threat of youth basketball," is available here.

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