It’s the beginning of fall sports season, and student-athletes are hard at work prepping for the weeks and months ahead. Unfortunately, this also means an increased risk of sports injuries.
There are two main types of injuries among student-athletes:
Acute injuries. Acute injuries are sudden — such as collisions among players. Examples include bruises, sprains, strains and broken bones.
Overuse injuries. Overuse injuries develop over time, usually due to repetitive motions. These injuries can affect ligaments, tendons, muscles, bones and growth plates. A stress fracture is an example of an overuse injury.
Preventing sports injuries
It’s very important that parents, coaches and athletes understand how to prevent overuse injuries. Specific tips from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons include:
Make sure the athlete has proper conditioning. Injuries tend to happen when athletes suddenly increase their activity levels. Building up to a higher fitness level over time (often before the season starts) can help to prevent injuries.
Use the right equipment. From shoes to safety gear, the proper equipment is critical.
Limit the number of teams on which your child plays in one season. Kids who play on more than one team at a time are especially at risk for overuse injuries.
Don’t let your child play one sport year-round. Taking regular breaks and playing other sports is essential to skill development and injury prevention.
Dealing with a sports injury
If you think your student-athlete has an injury, prompt medical attention is key. Left untreated, an injury could result in long-term damage or disability.
At Capital Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine, we focus on getting student-athletes in as quickly as possible so one of our physicians — including fellowship-trained sports medicine physicians with extensive experience treating professional and amateur athletes — can get treatment started right away. We even offer on-site X-rays and MRIs for faster diagnosis.
Keep in mind that some kids may not share the full extent of their pain so they can keep playing. So keep an eye out for the signs of injury, including changes in form, difficulty sleeping (possibly due to pain) and decreased interest in practicing.
If you’re not sure if your athlete has an injury, we offer free injury screenings at our physical therapy department in our Clive location. Just give us a call at 515-440-2678, and let us know you’re in need of a free injury screening.
Be cautious about returning to play
A player’s injury should have healed completely before he or she returns to the sport. In case of a joint problem, the athlete must have no pain, no swelling, full range of motion and normal strength. Your Capital Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine physician can assess your student athlete’s recovery and recommend a course of action on returning to play.