NEW STUDY SPOTLIGHTS INJURY RISKS FOR GROWING DANCERS.
According to Kathryn Daniels, author and chair of IADMS's Education Committee, growth spurts can have a negative impact on dancers' professional goals and long-term health. The good news, she says, is that there's a lot of scientific information that teachers can use to reduce the risk of problems. Daniels believes that this knowledge is especially useful during adolescence, when dancers typically commit to career paths and increase the intensity of their training.
Few young dancers understand the significant muscular and skeletal changes that occur generally between the ages of 11 and 14, or the fact that they rarely last more than a year. All they know is that it's suddenly more difficult to pirouette, hold their legs in extension and maintain a stable torso. Not surprisingly, many young dancers lose confidence during this time, as they see their technique slipping away. Injuries may also mount, particularly to open growth plates at the end of the bone, such as the knee, where strong tendons attach. Changes in body shape and size create additional stress, often leading to the "female athlete triad," comprised of disordered eating, menstrual problems and brittle bones.
What can the dance community do? IADMS's suggestions range from informing dancers and their parents about the temporary but complex physical changes that occur during adolescence to modifying class activities on an individual basis. For example, knee injuries can be reduced by limiting movements that stress the joint, such as grand plies. It's also possible to lessen the pressure on young dancers by postponing high-profile competitions and examinations until the growth spurt has ended. Finally, dance medicine specialists can help by collaborating with teachers and providing annual screenings, nutritional counseling and medical support.
To obtain a copy of the paper, log on to www.iadms.org.
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|Title Annotation:||The Challenge of the Adolescent Dancer|
|Article Type:||Brief Article|
|Date:||Apr 1, 2001|
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