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Young competitive athletes run the risk of repetitive stress injury to the back.
Photo (c) Mike Roseberry
Since 1993, it has been known to the sports medicine profession that caught early enough, back injuries caused by overtraining in young athletes have a chance of healing. In these competitive individuals, extending the spine backwards causes vulnerability to a repetitive stress injury known as spondylolysis.

Spondylolysis is a fracture in the spinal bone, and can lead to spondylolisthesis, a condition in which the injured vertebra has slid forward. According to Dr. Lyle Micheli, M.D., Director of the Division of Sports Medicine at Children's Hospital Boston, and professor of orhthopaedic sports medicine at Harvard University, ballerinas who to complain to their doctors early enough actually stand a chance of recovering from the problem. Dr. Micheli points out that soccer players who do penalty throws and gymnasts who perform back walk-overs are also prone to this type of injury, as are internal linemen in American football and figure skaters.

If a child athlete has had 2-3 weeks of back pain that is not going away, Dr. Micheli recommends being evaluated by a physician.

| Spondylolysis | Spondylolisthesis | Back Pain | Athletes and Back Pain | About's Pediatrics Site |

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