Introduction – Athletic Injury ~ Care and Prevention

Athletics are an important part of the high/middle school experience for many students. Sports can provide a positive learning environment that will help student-athletes in many aspects of their lives. Injuries are an inevitable part of high/middle school athletics regardless of the preventive measures taken. Students can, however, reduce their risk of injury by following several basic steps. One of the most important is proper overall conditioning, which can also enhance rehabilitation and shorten the “down time” of athletes.

Another aspect is understanding and recognizing the difference between “muscle soreness,” hurting from “bumps and bruises,” and the onset of an actual or potential injury. The next section should give you some guidelines.

When do I see a Doctor?

As a parent, it is important for you to encourage your children to be physically active. It’s also important to match your child to the sport, and not push him or her too hard into an activity that he or she may not like or be capable of doing. Teach your children to follow the rules and to play it safe when they get involved in sports, so they’ll spend more time having fun in the game and be less likely to be sidelined with an injury. You should be mindful of the risks associated with different sports and take important measures to reduce the chance of injury. If your child comes home and complains about one of the following signs and/or symptoms, you may want to have the situation evaluated by your health care professional. Recognize the symptoms – leave the diagnosis to the professional – “When in doubt, check it out.”

Signs and Symptoms

Concussion

Please read the Concussion fact sheet.

Repetitive Motion Injuries

Painful injuries such as stress fractures (a hairline fracture of the bone that has been subjected to repeated stress) and tendonitis (inflammation of a tendon) can occur from overuse of muscles and tendons. Some of these injuries don’t always show up on x-rays, but they do cause pain and discomfort.

Significant Swelling

Swelling occurs when the soft tissue of the body is damaged. It is the body’s way of protecting the injured part.

Discoloration Below an Injury

This may indicate a circulation problem that can be affected by swelling or other factors from the injury.

Weight Bearing

The injured athlete has difficulty in putting weight on the injured leg or arm.

Pain

Pain is not always an indicator of an injury. If you use a scale of 1 – 10 and the child describes the pain as a “5” or more, seek medical advice  “Point tenderness” can also be a sign of an injury.

Extremity Senses

If the athlete has any sensation problems such as “tingling,”  “numbness,” or any type of “shooting pain,” medical attention is needed immediately.