GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) Student athletes are already hard at work for the fall high school sports season. Injuries are often a part of the game for young athletes. That’s where the team at River Valley Orthopedics and Mercy Health Orthopedics comes in.
Common sports injuries include:
- Concussions: most schools now require coaches to undergo basic training on how to recognize concussions. It is not safe to resume any sport after a concussion without the clearance of a doctor. Typically once a concussion happens, an athlete will have to be without symptoms for at least a week and pass a functional progression to return safely to play. A physician needs to be involved in the process. If an athlete has two concussions in one season, many doctors will recommend stopping play for the season. If three occur, the season needs to be over. If this happens in two seasons, it would be best to stop the sport. Repeated concussions can cause lifetime problems with brain function. Concussions are common in football, soccer, and basketball.
- Warning signs: any loss of consciousness after a blow to the head, any change in consciousness, any persistent headache, confusion, difficulty with concentration, trouble with bright lights.
- ACL tears: if you have a non-contact or contact knee injury and felt your knee pop and swell, you should be evaluated by a doctor. Especially if you play a high risk sport like women’s soccer or basketball, or football for boys. There are expected to be around 100 ACL tears in the Grand Rapids area in high school athletes during the 2015 high school sports calendar. Diagnosing them quickly can prevent further injury. Most athletes can have a tear successfully repaired, and be back playing sports in six months. There is new data suggesting ACL tear risk can be decreased by women in high risk sports by a preseason training program. Contact your high school athletic trainer, sports medicine doctor, or River Valley Orthopedics for more information.
It’s hard to know when an injury is important, and when it is okay to play through the pain. A high school athletic trainer is a valuable resource, and most local high schools have one. Being evaluated and counseled by an athletic trainer can give you a treatment plan, and get things started in the right direction.
In general, if you feel a snap or pop, a joint “come apart,” notice significant swelling, are unable to bear weight without a limp, or don’t have full range of motion during an injury, see a doctor or trainer. Most doctors in sports medicine practice understand the urgency of an injured in-season athlete, and will do a good job working in an injured patient.