Pilgrims News · MORE MEDICAL EVIDENCE AGAINST SINGLE SPORT ATHLETES


The Plymouth High School Athletic Office has been a long-time advocate for multi-sport athletes for many years.  There are two main reasons why this is important to our office.

The first reason is simple.  Plymouth High School is a small 4A school in high school athletics in Indiana.  During the most recent IHSAA reclassification of high schools in Indiana, Plymouth came in as the 92nd largest school in Indiana with our enrollment of 1147 students.  This was based on the 2016-2017 enrollment numbers.  The IHSAA reclassifies every two years.  There are 407 member schools in the IHSAA.

In order to compete against schools in our class, we need our athletes to play multiple sports.  We are competing against schools in our area like Penn (3345 students), Crown Point (2763 students), Fort Wayne Carroll (2280), Valparaiso (2082), and LaPorte (1946 students)

In our Northern Lakes Conference, we are competing each week against Warsaw (2176 students), Goshen (1866 students), Concord (1716 students), Elkhart Memorial (1648 students), and Northridge (1392 students).

The second reason is the health concerns related to playing and specializing in only one sport.  Back on September, 25, 1974, a doctor by the name of Frank Jobe performed an experimental medical procedure on Major League Baseball pitcher Tommy John.  Dr. Jobe took a ligament out of John’s non-pitching right arm, and placed it in his left pitching arm.  John went on and pitched 15 more seasons in the Major Leagues.

Little did they know then the publicity and the history that would follow what is now referred to as “Tommy John surgery”.  Of all the “Tommy John surgeries” performed today, 60% of them are performed on kids ranging from 15-19 years old.  WHY?  Because of sports specialization.  The constant use of the same muscles over and over again without proper rest are going to be damaged.

Three different groups of organizations have studied this phenomena.  They are the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine, and the US Centers for Disease Control.  They all agree that athletes under the ages of 15/16 years old who participate in specialized sports more than eight months a year are 70% more likely to get injured.

Tommy John’s son, Dr. Tommy John III is a chiropractor and sports performance and healing specialist, has made a study of this problem.  He recently sat down with writer Bob McManaman of The Republic, a Phoenix, AZ newspaper.

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