Early Sport Specialization and Collegiate Injury Rates in NCAA Division I Athletes

No Thumbnail Available
Smith, Ahren H.
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Middle Tennessee State University
Sport specialization in adolescence has become a prominent and influential aspect of sports. Specialization is the focused participation in a single sport for much of the year without involvement in other sports or activities. The purpose of this study was to examine if sport specialization was related to injury rate and scholarship attainment in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) athletes. A survey was distributed to two NCAA institutions, where the athletes were asked questions regarding demographic, sport history, and injury history. A total of 64 athletes completed the survey (47 females and 17 males) from nine sports. The mean age of initial specialization was 8.3  3.4 years. Sport specialization and injury occurrence were not significantly related (p = .866). Further, the length of specialization was not significant in predicting whether an athlete would receive a scholarship (p = .392). With increasing numbers of adolescents specializing in sport at younger ages, creating appropriate restrictions and guidelines is important to protect the health of the athletes. Further it is important for coaches, parents, and sport organizations to understand the potential lack of relationship between specialization and earning a collegiate sports scholarship.
College, Injuries, NCAA, Rates, Specialization, Sport, Kinesiology