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Recommendations of the Polish Society of Sports Medicine on age criteria while qualifying children and youth for participation in various sports
  1. Tomasz Kostka1,
  2. Witold Furgal2,
  3. Wojciech Gawroński3,
  4. Andrzej Bugajski4,
  5. Andrzej Czamara4,
  6. Krzysztof Klukowski5,
  7. Hubert Krysztofiak6,
  8. Romuald Lewicki7,
  9. Zbigniew Szyguła3,
  10. Wiesław Tomaszewski4,
  11. Tadeusz Trzaska8,
  12. Jerzy Widuchowski9,
  13. Andrzej Ziemba10,
  14. Anna Jegier11 on behalf of the Polish Society of Sports Medicine*
  1. 1Polish Society of Sports Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, Medical University, Lodz, Poland
  2. 2MEDIVITSPORT Health Centre, Tarnobrzeg, Poland
  3. 3Department of Sports Medicine, University School of Physical Education, Cracow, Poland
  4. 4College of Physiotherapy, Wroclaw, Poland
  5. 5Chair of Physiotherapy, University of Physical Education, Warsaw, Poland
  6. 6National Centre for Sports Medicine, Warsaw, Poland
  7. 7Institute of Medical Education, Kielce, Poland
  8. 8Department of Traumatology of Sports, University of Physical Education, Poznan, Poland
  9. 9Centre of Arthroscopy and Knee Surgery, Piekary Slaskie, Poland
  10. 10Department of Applied Physiology, Mossakowski Medical Research Centre, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, Poland
  11. 11Department of Sports Medicine, Medical University of Lodz, Lodz, Poland
  1. Correspondence to Professor Tomasz Kostka, Faculty of Health Sciences, Polish Society of Sports Medicine, Medical University of Lodz, Pl. Hallera 1, 90–647 Łódź, Poland; tomaszkostka{at}

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Systematic physical activity is a necessary element of normal development of a young human body.1 2 From early childhood, people should participate in sports and recreational activities involving movement. However, organised and systematic learning of a given form of motor activity (physical training), particularly participation in sport competitions, may result in development of certain abnormalities connected with excessive physical and mental load of a young body, including injuries.3,,6 In recent years, athletes begin specialised training for their sport at increasingly younger ages.7 8 This may be due, in part, to increasing pressure from adults (trainers, parents or teachers) on young people to achieve results in sports.9,,11

The current recommendations involve the revised and updated position of the Polish Society of Sports Medicine (PSSM) concerning age criteria when qualifying for training and competitions in selected sport disciplines, previously presented in the sports medical textbook ‘Medycyna Sportowa’ from 2005,12 considering current knowledge of the issue.13,,18 The main aim of this study is to promote participation in systematic motor activity among children and youth, including organised training and competitions, with maximal safety and health protection assurance.

This consensus agreement is based on experts' opinions and growing perception of increasing dangers for participation in competitive sports by children and youth. Evidence-based data concern anatomy, physiology and psychology of children and adolescents.

Although several studies have reviewed sport-related injury risk in children and youth,19,,26 data concerning injury incidence are not complete. Especially, only a few studies have assessed long-term effects of participating in competitive sports in children and youth.27,,32 Several recent studies also provided new data on mechanisms …

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