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Overtraining and Burnout Symptoms

Tamara McLeod, PhD, ATC, FNATA

January 11, 2017

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Question

What are the key symptoms of overtraining and burnout?  

Answer

In 2014, Dr. DiFiori published a position statement in the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine, the topic of which was overuse injuries and burnout. Some of the key symptoms that they noted are: 

  1. fatigue
  2. depression
  3. bradycardia or tachycardia
  4. loss of motivation or interest
  5. hypertension
  6. sleep disturbances
  7. insomnia
  8. irritability
  9. agitation
  10. decreased self-confidence
  11. anxiety
  12. nausea
  13. loss of appetite
  14. weight loss
  15. lack of mental concentration
  16. heavy, sore, stiff muscles
  17. restlessness
  18. frequent illness

When we see patients with overuse injuries, it is a good idea to try to assess as to whether or not there are other issues or comorbidities occurring that might be the cause or a contributing factor in the overuse injury. Frequently, there is a lot of pressure on young athletes; they may feel uncomfortable acknowledging their injury or their lack of willingness to participate in their sport with their parent or their coach. This takes us all the way back to the child health pyramid and how we as health care providers should advocate for and be the voice of reason for these children, to try to identify as soon as possible the potential for overtraining syndrome and or burnout.


tamara mcleod

Tamara McLeod, PhD, ATC, FNATA

Dr. Tamara Valovich McLeod is the Athletic Training Program Director, Professor of Athletic Training, Research Professor in the School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona, and the John P. Wood, D.O., Endowed Chair for Sports Medicine at A.T. Still University in Mesa, Arizona. Dr. McLeod completed her doctor of philosophy degree in education with an emphasis in sports medicine from the University of Virginia. She was the founding director of the Athletic Training Practice-Based Research Network and her research has focused on the pediatric athlete with respect to sport-related concussion. Dr. McLeod was a contributing author for the NATA Position Statement on the Management of Sport-Related Concussion, the lead author on the NATA Position Statement on the Prevention of Pediatric Overuse Injuries, and a consultant and contributing author on the Appropriate Medical Coverage for Secondary School-Aged Athletes. Dr. McLeod serves on numerous editorial boards, and publishes frequently in the athletic training and sports medicine journals and is a NATA Fellow.


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