During the reporting and writing of Until it Hurts I was struck by how much youth sports wisdom is wasted. Parents gain years of experience following their children through sports. They are the coaches, chauffeurs, scorekeepers, concession stand attendants, equipment managers, team psychologists and a lot more. They perform these jobs for ten or 12 years. They make good decisions. They make mistakes. And then as suddenly as it all began for most families, it's over. Some parents stay involved. Most do not.
That's a shame because there have been many lessons learned during those years that could be shared with parents and coaches just getting started. One of my favorite quotes in Until It Hurts speaks to this point. The subject was Lyle Micheli, the prominent, Boston-based pediatric sports medicine physician. We were sitting in his office at Children's Hospital, and Dr. Micheli was speaking about overuse sports injuries - the type children suffer by repeating the same sport or skill over and over again. He'd been trying for years to get the word out about prevention of these injuries, but from his tone it was clear that he had grown frustrated.
“I'll go to Newton (Massachusetts) and speak to Little League coaches,” Dr. Micheli told me. “Number one, only the good coaches show up. Number two, every six or seven years, it's a totally different group. We're starting from scratch again: “Little League elbow, what's that?”
I invite you to contact me with lessons you have learned or experiences that you believe others might benefit from hearing about. Send me your thoughts about the stories told in Until It Hurts, telling me whether you agree with my conclusions or have a very different view. Any topic related to kids, adults and youth sports is fair game.