Kids in Sports, When is it Enough?

Julie hadn't even gotten her first training bra. But she had already developed a sports-related injury.

She had been swimming competitively since the age of five. She had a shelf full of ribbons and trophies, and by her seventh birthday, her coaches had moved her up to a higher team level. Sounds exciting, right? Not so much. Julie was expected to attend practice four days a week and swim meets most weekends–year round.

Fast forward a few years to fifth grade: Julie, now a busy eleven-year-old, has lots of friends, solid academics–and no complaints. Well, almost no complaints. She has stuck with the swim team. Only now she's expected to practice six days a week. Sometimes she and her family travel for hours to meets, which are held most Saturdays and Sundays almost every month of the year.

What's the problem? Six years of repetitive motion many days a week have left Julie's shoulders so tender, she can hardly move them some days. When her uncle, the orthopedist, cautioned Julie that she should take a couple of months off to rest her muscles, or at the very least, that she should swim only two days a week, she and her parents were skeptical. How could she give up a sport she loved, even for a couple of months? And cut back? She would lose her edge.

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