Injuries and Specialization

December 29, 2017

Editor's Note: This blog originally was posted July 6, 2010, and the topic continues to be of prime concern today.

There’s an excellent website to which we now link from the health and safety page of It’s

Under “Sports Injury Prevention,” in each of a dozen categories from baseball to volleyball, are numerous articles about injury prevention and treatment and additional resources.

The website is the most public presence so far for a campaign begun in 2007 by the American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM).

Sports Illustrated in June quoted AOSSM’s president, Dr. James R. Andrews, as saying the focus is really on youth sports and overuse injuries. “I don’t think epidemic is too strong a word,” said Dr. Andrews. “We’re seeing kids hurt before they even have a chance to become athletes.

“You just have this enormous pressure nowadays on kids to play that one sport year-round.

“Encourage your child to be involved in more than one sport. Cross-training helps develop their bodies. Don’t allow your child to play in more than one league in the same sport in the same season. That’s how they get burned out.”

Cheering for Sportsmanship

July 31, 2018

(This blog first appeared on on January 8, 2013.)

I try to start each new school year at the Michigan Interscholastic Press Association summer camp at Michigan State University. I talk briefly about who the MHSAA is and what it does; and then two or three dozen high school newspaper editors and writers ask me questions; and in doing so, they give me clues to what’s going on in our schools and what’s important to our students.

Several years ago, when I opened the session to questions, one young man asked: “Mr. Roberts, what’s your job?” I paused, and then said, “I guess I’m the head cheerleader for high school sports in Michigan.”

So then this precocious student asked: “Okay, what do you cheer for?”  With a briefer pause, this is some of what I said:

  • I cheer for sportsmanship that’s not merely good, but great.

  • I cheer for sportsmanship, not gamesmanship.

  • I cheer for playing by the rules, both the letter and the spirit.

  • I cheer for maximum effort to try to win each and every contest.

  • I don’t cheer for winning at any cost; I do cheer for learning at every opportunity.

  • I cheer for losing with grace and for winning with even greater grace, with humility and modesty.

  • I cheer for the lessons of victory and the even greater lessons of defeat.