All Articles by Keith J. Cronin, DPT, OCS, CSCS

Return to Play After ACL Surgery: How Parents Can Help

The period between the end of physical therapy and the start of sports-specific conditioning is a critical time frame for young athletes after an an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear or rupture, reconstructive surgery, and months of rehabilitation.

Injury Risk Is Product of Athlete's Age, Degree of Sport Specialization, Training Intensity

Sports injuries are the result of three factors: age, degree of sport specialization, and training intensity:

Strength and Conditioning for Youth Athletes: Good Lifting Technique Is Key

The purpose of lifting weights and resistance training in sports is simple: as a means to an end (improving performance), not as an end in itself (lifting more weight).  Understanding the basic benefits from good lifting technique and risks of poor sports training is critical to developing a purposeful and appropriate strength training program.

Stretching Improves Flexibility, Provides Foundation for Athletic Success

A lot has been written about the subject of stretching and flexibility in sports. Studies abound on the effects of flexibility on muscular strength, joint motion, and injury prevention, but the picture seems to become more muddled with every passing day, with even the conventional wisdom that static stretching improves flexibility over resistance training recently called into question. But the fact remains: stretching improves flexibility, a foundation for athletic success.

Proper Lifting Form to Maximize Performance and Decrease Risk of Injury

Learning proper lifting form for young athletes helps maximize the benefits of strength training and conditioning, which include developing improved joint mobility, stability and control, core strength, balance and flexibility.

Is Strength Training Okay for Young Athletes?

Because the growth plates at the end of the major bones in a child's arms and legs are open, their muscles and bones are still developing, and because their hormone levels aren't the same as adults, intense strength or resistance training for youth athletes is inappropriate before skeletal maturity.

Stretching Exercises Maintain Shoulder Flexibility, Reduce Risk of Rotator Cuff, Other Injuries

Stretching exercises maintains good shoulder flexibility and reduce the risk of rotator cuff and other injuries to baseball pitchers and other throwing athletes (football quarterbacks, javelin throwers).  Without a stretching program, athletes tend to develop muscle imbalances over the course of a season, exposing the athlete to increased risk of injury.

Exercises Assess Strength of Pitching Shoulder

With baseball season kicking into full gear, it is important to ensure that young arms are ready for the field. While a  great deal of emphasis is placed on "throwing more to get a stronger arm"  there are several other factors to consider. Physical therapist Keith Cronin provides a simple list of assessment tools and exercises to assess strength deficits in a throwing shoulder that increase that increase the risk of injury and decrease overall performance.

Preventing Pitching Injuries: Up to Parents To Reduce Injury Risk Where Multiple Teams Involved

When athletes pitch for multiple teams during the same season or on unregulated travel ball team, parents should keep track of pitch counts to protect them from injury.

Stretching Before Sports: Muscle Length Before Muscle Strength

No matter the sport, maximizing performance and minimizing injury risk comes from lengthening muscles to produce the most mechanically efficient and productive motion.