3 Preventable Fall Sports Injuries for Student Athletes

It’s the big game day, and both you and your stu­dent ath­lete are excit­ed. Their sports bag is packed, the car­pool is planned, and your phone is charged so you can take plen­ty of pho­tos. They’re ready to play, and you’re ready to cheer them on.

Your ath­lete is play­ing their hard­est when the worst hap­pens — an injury takes them out of the game. 

Source: Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Prevention

With fall sports sea­son around the cor­ner, there are steps you and your ath­lete can take now to pre­vent a future injury. Sure, many injuries and acci­dents are unavoid­able, but there are things you can do to reduce the risk of injury or reduce the sever­i­ty of a par­tic­u­lar injury.

Here are 3 com­mon injuries fall sport ath­letes might encounter — and how you can work togeth­er to pre­vent them.

1. Sprains

One of the most com­mon fall sports injuries that your stu­dent-ath­lete might expe­ri­ence is a sprain. Whether your stu­dent is a soc­cer play­er, cheer­leader, or oth­er fall sport ath­lete, all it takes is a wrong step or tum­ble to sprain some­thing (usu­al­ly an ankle or wrist). 

A sprain occurs when the tis­sues that con­nect your bones at a joint are stretched or torn — usu­al­ly after a fall or twist. While sprains are one of the more com­mon injuries an ath­lete might expe­ri­ence dur­ing the fall sea­son, there are a cou­ple of steps you can take and help them take to pre­vent this type of injury:

Pro­mote prop­er warm-up and stretch­ing: Both coach­es and par­ents alike can encour­age young ath­letes to take the time to do warm-up exer­cis­es and dynam­ic stretch­es before prac­tice or games. This helps increase flex­i­bil­i­ty and pre­pares the mus­cles for phys­i­cal activ­i­ty, reduc­ing the risk of sprains.

Strength­en com­mon­ly sprained joints: When you think of a sprain, your mind prob­a­bly goes right to the ankle. That might be because, in the US, an esti­mat­ed 2 mil­lion ankle sprains hap­pen each year. Your ath­lete can take steps to pre­vent an ankle sprain with strength­en­ing exer­cis­es like bal­anc­ing on one leg or doing lunges onto a cush­ion or foam pad.

Acci­dents and injuries can hap­pen when you least expect them. Sched­ule a same-day orthopaedic appoint­ment with Duly Ortho Now at an orthopaedic urgent care clin­ic near you.

2. Strains

Anoth­er com­mon kind of injury your stu­dent ath­lete might encounter is a strain. Sim­i­lar to a sprain, strains can be stretch­es or tears. But where sprains typ­i­cal­ly occur sud­den­ly, a strain can devel­op over time from overuse. 

A typ­i­cal place for a strain to occur is in the back or legs (like your ham­strings). Strains can be mus­cles that have stretched too far — but they can also include tear­ing, too. If your stu­dent-ath­lete has a mus­cle strain, they may com­plain of pain, weak­ness, cramp­ing, or spasms. As a par­ent or coach, lis­ten to these feel­ings, as they may tell you that a young ath­lete should see a sports med­i­cine spe­cial­ist or phys­i­cal ther­a­pist. You can help them pro­tect their mus­cles and also reduce their risk of a poten­tial strain.

Encour­age a bal­anced work­out: While it may be tempt­ing for young ath­letes to focus on one sport or one posi­tion, over­spe­cial­iza­tion can lead to the overuse of one spe­cif­ic body part. Your stu­dent-ath­lete should try to do var­i­ous cross-train­ing activ­i­ties and work­outs that use dif­fer­ent mus­cle groups to avoid too much rep­e­ti­tion. A good bal­ance of strength train­ing, flex­i­bil­i­ty, and car­dio can help.

Know when to take it easy: Every kid wants to be the hero of the game, but some­times their body can’t keep up. It’s impor­tant for young ath­letes to know when it’s time to step up to the plate — and when they may need to rest from a game or prac­tice. Encour­age your stu­dent-ath­lete to lis­ten to their body and what it might be telling them. 

3. Dis­lo­ca­tions

Dis­lo­ca­tions are anoth­er com­mon injury that can hap­pen on the field (like dur­ing a game) or off the field (like while young ath­letes are hang­ing out or roughhousing).

Pur­chase the cor­rect pro­tec­tive equip­ment: Make sure your ath­lete has the right gear for the sport they do — and that they wear it A) con­sis­tent­ly and B) cor­rect­ly. This can pro­tect their joints from a hard fall, but it’s also for safe­ty. Depend­ing on the sport, this might include good shoes or cleats, a hel­met, a face mask, a mouth guard, or oth­er body pads.

Be wary of future dis­lo­ca­tion: Ath­letes who have already dis­lo­cat­ed a joint, like a shoul­der or knee, are more like­ly to dis­lo­cate that same joint in the future. If your stu­dent-ath­lete has had a pre­vi­ous injury, talk to their provider about lim­i­ta­tions as they recov­er. Cer­tain motions or exer­cis­es may no longer be a good fit — and your ath­lete should know what they can and can’t do. 

At Duly Health And Care — We’re On Your Team

As fall sports sea­son begins, your ath­lete might be excit­ed to jump right into the swing of prac­tices and games. But over­train­ing can lead to fatigue and a high­er chance of an injury or an accident. 

Ease them back into their sport, and give them oppor­tu­ni­ties to con­tin­ue to train or cross-train through­out the sum­mer. Encour­age them to lis­ten to their body and take breaks when need­ed. Tak­ing the prop­er safe­ty pre­cau­tions can help low­er your athlete’s chance of an injury this sea­son. Through the wins and loss­es, the Duly Sports Med­i­cine Team is here to sup­port them and cheer them on.

  • I strive to provide my patients with the highest quality care tailored to their specific needs. In order to provide exceptional care, I start by making sure I understand the patient, their background and what their goals are regarding future athletic and physical activity. The treatment options I offer are based on my experience working with professional, collegiate, high school and recreational athletes of all ages. These treatment options are guided by evidence based medicine and include the latest and most innovative surgical techniques that have been shown to result in excellent outcomes. When patients leave my office, I want them to understand all their treatment options and feel confident they have made the best decision for their health and well-being.