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Photo: Maja Hitij/FIFA via Getty Images

Growing concern about a rise in injuries and burnout among young athletes who specialize in one sport has led the National Athletic Trainers' Association to issue new recommendations urging parents to ease up.

The big picture: In addition to preventing injuries and burnout, there's also evidence to suggest that playing multiple sports can improve, rather than hinder, a young athlete's trajectory — shocking news for parents and kids who thought year-round specialization was the only path to stardom.

The recommendations:

  • Delay specializing in a single sport for as long as possible.
  • Participate in 1 organized sport per season.
  • Play each sport for no more than 8 months per year.
  • Rest for a minimum of 2 days per week.
  • Recover by taking ample time away from sports at the end of each season.

By the numbers: Youth sports specialization has had a particularly large impact on basketball, where kids who play year-round between the ages of 7 and 19 could participate in more than 1,000 games, according to estimates.

  • For reference, 30-year-old James Harden has played 881 games in his NBA career — and that includes the playoffs.
  • Add it all up and it's no wonder why today's players — after years of putting constant stress on the same bones, muscles and joints — are so physically worn down by the time they reach the NBA.
"There is a myth that it takes a single-sport specialization to succeed. In fact, we're learning from research and anecdotal evidence that there is actually an opportunity for athleticism to improve if you expose the body to different sports and different movements."
— NATA president Tory Lindley, per NYT

Go deeper:

Go deeper

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Maximum pressure campaign escalates with Fakhrizadeh killing

Photo: Fars News Agency via AP

The assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the architect of Iran’s military nuclear program, is a new height in the maximum pressure campaign led by the Trump administration and the Netanyahu government against Iran.

Why it matters: It exceeds the capture of the Iranian nuclear archives by the Mossad, and the sabotage in the advanced centrifuge facility in Natanz.

Scoop: Biden weighs retired General Lloyd Austin for Pentagon chief

Lloyd Austin testifying before Congress in 2015. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Joe Biden is considering retired four-star General Lloyd Austin as his nominee for defense secretary, adding him to a shortlist that includes Jeh Johnson, Tammy Duckworth and Michele Flournoy, two sources with direct knowledge of the decision-making tell Axios.

Why it matters: A nominee for Pentagon chief was noticeably absent when the president-elect rolled out his national security team Tuesday. Flournoy had been widely seen as the likely pick, but Axios is told other factors — race, experience, Biden's comfort level — have come into play.

Updated 12 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release."
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York COVID restrictions.
  3. World: Thailand, Philippines sign deal with AstraZeneca for vaccine.
  4. Economy: Safety nets to disappear in December Black Friday shopping across the U.S., in photosAmazon hires 1,400 workers a day throughout pandemic.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.