PARENTS PLEASE READ
I often get the question “Can sports injuries be prevented?” What a great question...
As a former athlete, coach, and now medical provider, I can say one of my least favorite things is seeing a young person go down with a life altering injury. And now as a parent (hopefully of kids who want to be active), this has now taken an even stronger emotion. One of my mission’s is to help however I can to avoid this.
To get a little personal...toward the end of August 2001, I was entering my Junior year at Sky View High School in Smithfield. I had spent the offseason working hard and we were wrapping up our two weeks of two-a-days...in fact we were in the last 30 minutes of the last practice before we started the season. I was playing tailback, and got the call for a 23 dive...the line did a great job to open up a hole leaving just me and the outside linebacker. I juked inside then lowered my shoulder and cut to the outside....next thing I know I am flat on my back with my left shoulder in excruciating pain. I thought it was a simple “stinger,” the trainer suggested running up to the hospital to just make sure there wasn’t a fracture. Well turns out I had cracked my shoulder blade...with a prognosis of 6-8 weeks no contact. I was fortunate to heal quickly and return within 6 weeks, but by then my season was pretty much shot. For an already slow...let’s say less than athletic fella...this resulted in a great deal of lost experience and an incredibly frustrating Senior season…
Now I had no pretenses of my ability to play at any level past high school...but for a 17 year old kid who loved and devoted so much to a sport, it was a hard pill to swallow.
Please don’t take this wrong...I promise I am not stuck back pining over my high school days...but those emotions at that transitional time were poignant and real.
Fast forward a few years and I found myself on the sidelines trying to give a little back to the thing that had had such a huge impact in forming what I consider to be my best characteristics. I spent nearly a decade coaching high school boys and college-aged young men in lacrosse...and subsequently dealt with the effects of many life altering injuries from my athletes.
Scroll another few years forward and I am a PT dealing with life altering pain, injury, dysfunction on a daily basis.
This has lead me to put an emphasis on injury prevention. This first starts out with good education to the parents, athletes, and coaches.
A few interesting stats:
- Over 45 million youth participate in team sports
- Between 7.5-8.0 million youth participate in high school athletics each year
- High school athletes account for an estimated 2 million injuries and 500,000 doctor visits and 30,000 hospitalizations each year
When you look at stats with big numbers like that it can be easy to forget that each one of those is a son or daughter...like my junior high neighbor girl who recently sustained a significant foot/ankle injury...not only did it end her competitive volleyball season, but many other aspects of her daily life have been affected…
...or that 17 year old version of myself who lost not only a season, but a great deal confidence and momentum…
Those injury numbers are just too high…
So going back to the original question “Can sports injuries be prevented?” YES, many of them can be. Recently I completed and compiled an Ebook addressing this question. In this book I draw from my years as an athlete, high school coach, college coach, and now physical therapist, coupled with information attained through scientific inquiry.
Please check it out and incorporate the tips for helping keep your kid safe!!