Undergraduate Honors Thesis Projects

Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Paper

Degree Name

Allied Health-BS


Health & Sport Sciences


Dr. Ashley Simons

First Committee Member

Dr. Ally Smith

Second Committee Member

Dr. Margaret Koehler


Sport Specialization, Division III, Injury Risks

Subject Categories

Higher Education | Sports Sciences


A single-sport athlete or early sport specialization (ESS) are defined as those who commit themselves to one sport for more than 8 months out of the year. The hope is the athlete will develop better sport specific skills faster than their counterparts. However, ESS has shown to have an association with increased mental health concerns, burn out rates, and injury. The goal of this research study was to determine if there is a correlation between early sport specialization and the total number of injuries experienced by a Division III athlete. In a descriptive research design, student-athletes at Otterbein University participated in a subjective survey about their experiences with sport specialization in both high school and college. Along with basic demographic information, athletes were asked to provide information on the type and frequency of any injuries sustained. Descriptive statistics were used to determine statistical significance of the survey data. There was no statistical significance found between the number of sports played or participants' gender and the total number of injuries that an athlete experienced in high school t(44) = 0.08, p =.94. or in college t(44) = 1.26, p=0.21 . There were, however, differences seen in the frequency of different types of injuries experienced in high school t(44) = -1.22, p = 0.23 when compared to college t(44) = 0.90, p = 0.93. . While prior literature has found connections between early sport specialization and an increased injury risk, this research study did not come to the same conclusion. Based off the data found in this study, ESS does not increase the risk of injury for Division III athletes. However, more research needs to be done in this population.

Licensing Permission

Copyright, all rights reserved. Fair Use

Acknowledgement 1


Acknowledgement 2