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ASU AD: Overtraining still a serious problem for student-athletes

LISTEN: Ray Anderson, ASU Athletic Director

Injuries are an inevitable part of sports, and are often caused by an in-game collision or accident.

But, Arizona State athletic director Ray Anderson says times have changed, and part of the problem lies in the training of young athletes.

Anderson joined the Dan Bickley Show with Vince Marotta on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM and discussed his beliefs on former and current athletes’ training techniques and the injuries that often follow them.

“Nowadays, young athletes coming up are made to specialize or choose a specific sport, instead of like in the old days when I played, you played every sport, you just went season-to-season,” Anderson said. “I don’t think you over-trained in any one sport. For instance, if I’m just playing baseball all the time, then I’m probably going to have some fatigue in that arm at some point sooner than perhaps I should.”

The challenge to push yourself as hard as you can in practice, and to also maintain enough energy for an actual game, has always been a conflict for a student-athlete.

The call for reduced practice time in college athletics has come under the spotlight in recent days with the news of Northwestern University’s football team allowed to unionize under the National Labor Relations Board decision.

“They have the same challenges in football,” Anderson said. “One of the things that the union really pressed for was reduced work time, in terms of the time that those players would be required on the field and in the weight room, because human nature is, particularly if you are the one giving the instructions, you will overtrain and overwork some folks.”

Northwestern will appeal the decision that would make football players employees of the school. For the rest of the college football world, the chance of overworking student-athletes to a point of extreme fatigue still remains.

“I think it’s a real problem and it’s not going away,” Anderson said.

“You have to really be cautious and very deliberate about how much time, practice wise and training wise, you are imposing on these young men and women because you can, I think, overdo it, and ultimately that leads to fatigue and injuries.”

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