Each year, millions of teenagers look forward to and participate in high school sports. With so much excitement behind these sports, an injury to the participating athlete can be a huge disappointment for the teen, the family, and the coaches. The pressure to play can lead to decisions that place the athlete at risk of additional injury with long-term effects. High school sports injuries can cause problems that require surgery as an adult and may lead to arthritis later in life.
When a sports injury occurs, it is important to quickly seek proper treatment. To ensure the best possible recovery, athletes, coaches, and parents must follow safe guidelines for returning to the game.
Types of High School Sports Injuries
Injuries among young athletes fall into two basic categories: overuse injuries and acute injuries. Both types include injuries to the soft tissues (muscles and ligaments) and bones.
Overuse Injuries – Not all injuries are caused by a single, sudden twist, fall, or collision. Overuse injuries occur gradually over time, when an athletic activity is repeated so often the parts of the body do not have enough time to heal between playing. Overuse injuries can affect muscles, ligaments, tendons, bones, and growth plates.
Bone stress injuries are another common overuse injury in young athletes. Bone is in a constant state of turnover. New bone develops and replaces older bone. If an athlete’s activity is too great, the breakdown of older bone occurs rapidly, and the bone cannot make new bone fast enough to replace it. As a result, the bone is weakened and stress fractures can occur.
Acute Injuries – Acute injuries are caused by sudden trauma. Examples include collisions with obstacles on the field or other players. Common acute injuries among young athletes include bruises, sprains, strains, fractures, and concussions.
Treatment will depend upon the severity of the injury and may include a combination of rest or activity modification, physical therapy, strengthening exercises, and bracing. More serious injuries may require surgery.
Many high school sports injuries can be prevented through proper conditioning, training, and equipment, and by getting enough sleep and having a healthy diet. Young athletes who are out of shape at the start of the season should gradually increase activity levels and slowly build back up to a higher fitness level. Using proper technique for the position being played is also key to preventing injury. In addition, injuries can be prevented when athletes understand and follow the rules of the game.
If you believe your child has experienced a sports injury, give Dr. Larson a call at 435-774-8512.