🎉 Happy Friday! You made it.
Today's word count: 1,556 words (5 minutes)
Photo: Maja Hitij/FIFA via Getty Images
Amid growing concern about a rise in injuries and burnout among youth athletes who specialize in one sport, the National Athletic Trainers' Association has issued new recommendations urging parents to dial it back.
Rule of thumb: A child's age equals the number of hours per week he or she should spend in organized sports. For example, a 12-year-old shouldn't participate for more than 12 hours per week.
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.
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, I'm sure, for parents and kids who thought year-round specialization was the only path to stardom.
"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
Key detail: They were both wearing a pair of Nike shoes called the "Vaporfly," which have proven controversial because of the performance boost they seem to provide.
Driving the news: After receiving numerous complaints from runners who believe the shoes provide an unfair advantage, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has put together a team to "consider the issues."
Why it matters: "It appears that running, the original and most elemental of sports, now faces the same tradition vs. scientific innovation challenge that other sports have encountered," writes NYT's Amby Burfoot.
The bottom line: The outcome of this debate will affect everything from stock prices (Nike and their competitors) to who wins the marathon at the 2020 Olympics.
NEW YORK — George Springer and Carlos Correa each hit 3-run bombs in the Astros' commanding 8-3 win over the Yankees, giving Houston a 3-1 lead in a suddenly lopsided ALCS.
DENVER — Superstar QB Patrick Mahomes dislocated his right kneecap in the 2nd quarter of the Chiefs' 30-6 win over the Broncos, a devastating blow for his team and the NFL as a whole.
LOS ANGELES — Marco Scandella and the Buffalo Sabres picked up a 3-0 victory over the L.A. Kings to improve to 6-1-1, good for an NHL-best 13 points.
LA Galaxy star Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Photo: Matthew Ashton/AMA/Getty Images
Major League Soccer's new single-elimination playoff format will be put to the test over the next 3 weeks.
Looking ahead: The winners advance to the Conference Semifinals, which will take place on Wednesday and Thursday of next week. The top 2 regular-season teams — LAFC and NYCFC — got first-round byes and await the winners.
Joe Burrow. Photo: Marianna Massey/Getty Images
How can you choose among record-setting QBs like Joe Burrow, Tua Tagovailoa and Jalen Hurts? How can you choose the best receiver in the Big 12? Or the country's best kicker? ESPN tried.
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios
One year ago today, all 4 U.S. major sports leagues (NFL, NHL, NBA and MLB) were in action on the same day — the 18th "sports equinox" to ever take place.
The backdrop: There was a 16-year period (1985-2001) without a single sports equinox. But now that Thursday Night Football is a fixture, the NBA starts earlier, and the World Series starts later, they're more frequent.
Looking ahead: Unless the World Series ends in a sweep, the 19th sports equinox will take place on Sunday, Oct. 27.
Bradley Beal, who signed a 2-year max extension with the Wizards yesterday, was 1 of 6 players to average 25 points, 5 assists and 5 rebounds per game last season.
Answer at the bottom.
Japan players after beating Scotland to advance to the quarterfinals. Photo: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images
The story of the Rugby World Cup has been host country Japan, which beat Ireland, Scotland, Samoa and Russia to become the first Asian country to ever win its group.
Up next: In this weekend's quarterfinals, Japan will face its most formidable foe yet, South Africa.
🏀 The Pelicans are using Zion Williamson like a running back and it's working (Mike Prada, SB Nation)
"The Pelicans' offense is built around a simple idea: there's no stopping the Williamson freight train once the engine gets started. That's why they've done everything possible to give Williamson that head start."
🎮 This small Pennsylvania school wants to be the Notre Dame of esports (Alex Andrejev, WashPost)
"If [tiny Harrisburg University] can establish a brand of excellence in college esports similar to what traditional powerhouses such as Alabama or Duke have done in football and basketball, the thinking goes, it can elevate the profile of the school as a whole."
🏈 What Art Briles brought to the town that never asked for him (Kelsey McKinney, Deadspin)
"Briles landed in this town like a meteor, and he brought with him not only constant scrutiny and media attention, but complicated moral and ethical questions ... There was always a silver lining to point to, though ... Art Briles was going to win a lot of games."
This week, we're listening to "The Sterling Affairs," a 5-part podcast about basketball in Los Angeles, a ruthless real estate empire and the scandal that rocked the NBA.
⏪ Yesterday's episode: "Fallout" — When the explosive tape of Donald broke, it came at a moment when power in the NBA was changing. Players, owners, and a new commissioner were faced with a major test that would re-shape the league.
▶️ Today's episode: "Not Fit" — The Donald Sterling story comes to an end where it all started — with a showdown in court. This time, though, it was Donald vs. Shelly.
Kendall "Joe Burrow looks like Tim Robbins" Baker
Trivia answer: LeBron James, Steph Curry, James Harden, Kevin Durant, Giannis Antetokounmpo