Sport Specialization’s Impact on Female Adolescent Athletes’ Lower-Extremity Neuromuscular Control: A Critically Appraised Topic

Click name to view affiliation

Sierra Reich Department of Kinesiology, Colorado Mesa University, Grand Junction, CO, USA

Search for other papers by Sierra Reich in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
https://orcid.org/0009-0001-1245-6019 *
,
Jeremy Hawkins Department of Kinesiology, Colorado Mesa University, Grand Junction, CO, USA

Search for other papers by Jeremy Hawkins in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
,
Alli Powell Department of Kinesiology, Colorado Mesa University, Grand Junction, CO, USA

Search for other papers by Alli Powell in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0391-230X
, and
Michael Reeder Department of Kinesiology, Colorado Mesa University, Grand Junction, CO, USA

Search for other papers by Michael Reeder in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
Restricted access

Clinical Scenario: Nearly 60 million youth ages 6–18 participate in athletics within the United States. Over the last 30 years, the outlook on youth sport participation has drastically changed, resulting in an increased emphasis on performance and college sport participation. These evolving expectations have created a sense of perfectionism, demanding more time and energy to be placed into a single sport, resulting in an increased prevalence of sport specialization, and consequently, an increased rate of injury. Clinical Question: What is the impact of sport specialization on lower-extremity neuromuscular control in female adolescent athletes? Summary of Key Findings: Four studies were included, all comparing movement efficiency and movement patterns among multisport and sport-specialized female adolescent athletes. Three studies showed that sport specialization is associated with lower-extremity biomechanical alterations that are indicative of altered levels of neuromuscular control, which can predispose an individual to an increased risk of injury. One study concluded that no differences in neuromuscular control exist when comparing sport-specialized to multisport adolescent female athletes. Clinical Bottom Line: Sport specialization has the potential to create negative alterations in a female adolescent athletes’ lower-extremity biomechanics, leading to the creation of altered levels of neuromuscular control and a possible increased risk for injury. Strength of Recommendation: Level B evidence exists to support the conclusion that sport specialization negatively affects a female adolescent athlete’s lower-extremity neuromuscular control.

Sport specialization creates hip and knee joint coupling variabilities and inefficient landing strategies, placing female adolescent athletes at risk for a lower-extremity injury.

Sport-specialized female athletes possess biomechanical alterations that are indicative of compromised neuromuscular control.

Female adolescent athletes possess an overall increased risk for knee injury, regardless of specialization level, as seen through Landing Error Scoring System scores for jump-landing tasks.

  • Collapse
  • Expand
  • 1.

    Padaki AS, Popkin CA, Hodgins JL, Kovacevic D, Lynch TS, Ahmad CS. Factors that drive youth specialization. Sports Health. 2017;9(6):532536. doi:10.1177/1941738117734149

    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 2.

    LaPrade RF, Agel J, Baker J, et al. AOSSM early sport specialization consensus statement. Orthop J Sports Med. 2016;4(4):241. doi:10.1177/2325967116644241

    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 3.

    McGuine TA, Post EG, Hetzel SJ, Brooks MA, Trigsted S, Bell DR. A prospective study on the effect of sport specialization on lower extremity injury rates in high school athletes. Am J Sports Med. 2017;45(12):27062712. doi:10.1177/0363546517710213

    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 4.

    Jayanthi NA, Dugas LR. The risks of sport specialization in the adolescent female athlete. NSCA. 2017;39(2):2028. doi:10.1519/SSC.0000000000000293

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 5.

    Jayanthi N, Kleithermes S, Dugas L, Pasulka J, Iqbal S, LaBella C. Risk of injuries associated with sport specialization and intense training patterns in young athletes: a longitudinal clinical case-control study. Orthop J Sports Med. 2020;8(6):764. doi:10.1177/2325967120922764

    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 6.

    DiCesare CA, Montalvo A, Barber Foss KD, Thomas SM, Hewett TE, Jayanthi NA, Myer GD. Sport specialization and coordination differences in multisport adolescent female basketball, soccer, and volleyball athletes. J Athl Train. 2019;54(10):11051114. doi:10.4085/1062-6050-407-18

    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 7.

    DiCesare CA, Montalvo A, Barber Foss KD, Thomas SM, Ford KR, Hewett TE, Jayanthi NA, Stracciolini A, Bell DR, Myer GD. Lower extremity biomechanics are altered across maturation in sport-specialized female adolescent athletes. Front Pediatr. 2019;7(268):1–11. doi:10.3389/fped.2019.00268

    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 8.

    Beese ME, Joy E, Switzler CL, Hicks-Little CA. Landing error scoring system differences between single-sport and multi-sport female high school-aged athletes. J Athl Train. 2015;50(8):806811. doi:10.4085/1062-6050-50.7.01

    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 9.

    Goto S, Hannon JP, Grondin AN, Bothwell JM, Garrison JC. Effects of sports specialization on lower extremity sagittal plane loading in adolescent males and females. Orthop J Sports Med. 2020;8(4):281. doi:10.1177/2325967120S00281

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 10.

    Wells GA, Shea B, O’Connell D, Peterson J, Welch V, Losos M, Tugwell P. The Newcastle-Ottawa Scale (NOS) for Assessing the Quality of Nonrandomized Studies in Meta-Analyses. The Ottawa Hospital; 2022. Accessed April 25, 2022. http://www.ohri.ca/programs/clinical_epidemiology/nosgen.pdf

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 11.

    Herzog R, Alvarez-Pasquin MJ, Diaz C, Del Barrio JL, Estrada JM, Gil A. Are healthcare workers’ intentions to vaccinate related to their knowledge, beliefs and attitudes? A systematic review. BMC Public Health. 2013;13:154.

    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 12.

    Oxford Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine 2011 Levels of Evidence. CEBM.ox.ac.uk. 2022. Accessed April 25, 2022. https://www.cebm.net/index.aspx?o=5653

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 13.

    Padua DA, Marshall SW, Boling MC, Thigpen CA, Garrett WEJ, Beutler AI. The landing error scoring system (LESS) is a valid and reliable clinical assessment tool of jump-landing biomechanics: The JUMP-ACL study. Am J Sports Med. 2009;37(10):19962002. doi:10.1177/0363546509343200

    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 14.

    Ebell MH, Siwek J, Weiss BD, Woole SH, Susman J, Ewigman B, Bowman M. Strength of recommendation taxonomy (SORT): a patient-centered approach to grading evidence in the medical literature. AFP. 2004;69(3):548556. Accessed April 25, 2022. https://www.aafp.org/afp/2004/0201/afp20040201p548.pdf

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 15.

    McKay D, Broderick C. The adolescent athletes: a developmental approach to injury risk. Pediatr Exerc Sci. 2016;28(1):488500. doi:10.1123/pes.2016-0021

    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 877 710 21
Full Text Views 172 157 0
PDF Downloads 115 94 1