Sports injuries are injuries that typically occur while participating in organized sports, competitions, training sessions, or organized fitness activities. These injuries may occur in teens for a variety of reasons, including improper training, lack of appropriate footwear or safety equipment, and rapid growth during puberty. Often overuse injuries seem less important than acute injuries. You may be tempted to ignore that aching in your wrist or that soreness in your knees, but always remember that just because an injury isn’t dramatic doesn’t mean it’s unimportant or will go away on its own. If left untreated, a chronic injury will probably get worse over time. Learn more about pulled muscles and the ways to treating muscle pull.
When I was a young gymnast, my mother had trouble watching me compete on the balance beam. She said the beam just looked so big and I looked so small, and a fall from that height seemed dangerous. Fortunately, I grew and the beam remained the same height. Yet, as I got older the injuries were much more frequent due typically because of overuse. These injuries included sprains, pulled muscles and strains and were an everyday struggle.
Recognizing and preventing possible sports injuries in your children can be challenging. A good beginning is to understand the common injuries within your children sport. Parents, coaches, former athletes, and sports medicine practitioners will be able to provide this information. Some of the most common across many sports are: sprained ankle, pulled groin and pulled hamstring. There are also excellent resources online including a website named Youth Sport Parent, which addresses many issues in youth sport beyond injury.
A very popular concern for youth sport injuries today is the overuse injuries that can be caused by chronic play without adequate rest and recovery. This is a particular concern with some youth sports becoming more specialized encouraging participation in the same sport (and the same sport specific movements) year-round. One of the best things a parent can do is listen to their children talk about how they feel, both physically and mentally. Furthermore, a parent can follow up with more questions to clarify something their child said. This can be a simple, but very useful, way to get a better understanding of when rest is needed.
Parents can also talk to their children about both hydration and stretching in and out of their sport training and review muscle pull prevention tips. Experts on youth sports medicine have encouraged more dynamic, rather than static, stretching during warm up in order to loosen muscles and increase heart rate before vigorous exercise.
Understanding injury prevention in sport will be different for each athlete. The factors in which an athlete becomes injured can include various physical, emotional, and mental elements. For parents, it isn’t necessarily only a concern for that one big fall, but a process of understanding the risk and assessing the needs for rest. Lastly, and most importantly, a parent can help young athletes to begin to understand themselves better especially in terms of a possible risk and the need for recovery.
Injury comes with the territory of being an athlete. No matter what age and what level, injuries of varying severity are likely to occur. Professional athletes are no exception. They train day in and day out with considerable pressure to perform. How well they perform can dictate how well they are paid, and one of the greatest roadblocks to performing at their best includes injury. In fact, some contracts with professional athletes include sections requiring athletes to maintain good health and well-being
This September, Rafael Nadal, Spanish tennis player, sustained an abdominal muscle injury forcing him to pull out of the Thailand Open and rest for at least two weeks. Fortunately, Nadal recovered from his pulled muscle enough to play in the Shanghai Masters and made it to the final. Demonstrating how injury riddles professional sports, Nadal beat out his opponent Feliciano Lopez who retired from the match because he was suffering from an ankle injury. Nadal was relieved to be playing again saying, “I’m just happy to be in the final –my first after the injury comeback.”
The recovery process for injured athletes includes an important piece that Nadal mentioned, the comeback. Injured athletes who hope to return to their sport can have a challenging road ahead. The injury can sometimes cause increased performance anxiety, fear of re-injury, and decreased confidence. In a study about elite athletes returning to their sport after injury, Podlog and Eklund (2009) followed participants for 8 months after injury. They found that athletes believed they would be successful in their comeback if they felt capable, independent, and connected and supported with those around them.
In professional sports, injury is sometimes portrayed as something to be ashamed of. However, sometimes the greatest challenge in an athlete’s career is “the comeback”. There is value to the experience, hopefully one each athlete at any level can recognize. Portland State football player, Jimmy Brown, speaks to that value, “Having an injury like that is a real learning experience. It’s a heart breaker, but I discovered a determination I didn’t know I had.”