Single sport specialization has been associated with injury risk and burnout. However, there is no known previous qualitative research regarding health-related quality of life (HRQoL) of single sport and multi-sport young athletes and their parents. In order to better understand the perceptions of these potential risks of youth sports specialization, a qualitative parent-child study of specialized young athletes was performed. Thirty-six families (50 young athletes and 42 parents) participated in this study by completing an interview about their sports participation. Twenty-seven of these families completed the PROMIS (Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System) questionnaire, assessing quality of life. Health-Related Quality of Life (HRQoL) scores were high in all young athlete and parent categories with no significant differences (p = .96) in quality of life between single (specialized) and multi-sport young athletes and their respective parents (p = .17). Qualitative analysis of interviews highlighted the positive perception of sports and parents’ concern regarding sports specialization. Thus, although no quality of life differences were found based on sport specialization, the highly positive quality of life scores suggest a benefit of sports despite specialization.
Patel and Jayanthi are with Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA.
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