Attention, aspiring gymnasts! Acting like an Olympic gold medalist gymnast can destroy your body!
That’s because a new report found that a skyrocketing number of budding gymnasts are mimicking the “win at all costs” behavior of the London Olympic champs, The Fierce Five, that means they’re training and competing when they’re injured, and risking career-ending injuries, like shoulder, ankle, and spine injuries.
In fact, a whopping 25,000 children were treated for gymnastics-related injuries in emergency rooms last year. That's on par with the injury rates from extreme contact sports, like hockey.
Experts say that elite gymnasts often have tournament titles and sponsorship deals hinging on whether or not they compete, so they usually do, even if they’re hurt, like McKayla Maroney, who competed in the London games with a broken toe.
But experts warn that young gymnasts with developing bodies can’t afford to do that. And performing while injured could hurt them for life.
So, how can you tell the difference between a minor injury and a potentially career-ending one?
Jim Thornton is the president of the National Athletic Trainers Association. He says if you’re sore after practice, that's fine. But if the pain doesn't go away within a few days, it’s time to hop off the balance beam, and see a doctor!