Until It Hurts: America's Obsession with Youth Sports and How It Harms Our Kids

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Beacon Press, Apr 1, 2009 - Sports & Recreation - 160 pages
This "hair-raising look at everything that is wrong with youth sports today"—its perils, its history, its key drivers—is a powerful call for positive change (Buzz Bissinger, author of Friday Night Lights)

Over the last seventy-five years, adults have staged a hostile takeover of kids' sports. In 2003 alone, more than 3.5 million children under age fifteen required medical treatment for sports injuries—nearly half of which were the result of simple overuse. The quest to turn children into tomorrow's superstar athletes has often led adults to push them beyond physical and emotional limits.

In Until It Hurts, journalist, coach, and sports dad Mark Hyman explores how youth sports reached this problematic state. His investigation takes him from the Little League World Series in Pennsylvania to a prestigious Chicago soccer club, from adolescent golf and tennis superstars in Atlanta to California volleyball players. He interviews dozens of children, parents, coaches, psychologists, surgeons, sports medicine specialists, and former professional athletes. He speaks at length with Whitney Phelps, Michael's older sister; retraces the story of A Very Young Gymnast, and its subject, Torrance York; and tells the saga of the Castle High School girls' basketball team of Evansville, Indiana, which lost three-fifths of its lineup to ACL injuries in 2005. Along the way, Hyman hears numerous stories: about a mother who left her fifteen-year-old daughter at an interstate exit after a heated exchange over her performance during a soccer game, about a coach who ordered preteens to swim laps in three-hour shifts for twenty-four hours.

Hyman's exploration leads him to examine the history of youth sports in our country and how it has evolved, particularly with the increasing involvement of girls and much more proactive participation of parents. With its unique multiple perspective—of history, of reporting, and of personal experience—Until It Hurts delves into the complicated issue of sports for children, opening up a much-needed discussion about the perils of youth sports culture and offering insight into how positive change can be made.

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User Review  - Karin7 - LibraryThing

This is a must read if, like me, you have kids doing any kind of sports or who may someday be doing sports. Hyman, a father himself, examines the American (and, to be honest, Canadian to some extent ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - ohernaes - LibraryThing

American culture in general and parents in particular are driving kids and youth in sports until it hurts. An example is overuse injuries and surgery for young athletes becoming much more common ... Read full review


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About the author (2009)

Mark Hyman is a journalist, frequently contributing to publications, such as The New York Times and Sports Illustrated, and he was a former writer for BusinessWeek and Sports Business Journal. In 1998, he assisted Baseball Hall of Fame broadcaster Jon Miller in the writing of his memoir, Confessions of a Baseball Purist. He has appeared on panels and led workshops for the Sports Lawyers Association, the American Press Institute and the Associated Press Sports Editors. In 2010 he was honored as one of 18 Sports Ethics Fellows by the Institute for International Sport at the University of Rhode Island and the Positive Coaching Alliance at Stanford University. He currently teaches in the sports management program at George Washington University.

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