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Preventing Sports Injuries

Olivia Acevedo, Editor in Chief

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Among all high schools worldwide, sports are a very important towards athletes and towards their reputations. There are frequent times when these athletes overwork themselves to the point that injuries become highly probable. These possibilities have sadly become more and more common every day.  Often times, you hear of the kids with big dreams being crushed because of an injury that jeopardizes the rest of their season, and sometimes, the rest of their career.  This is why preventing any type of injury is something to take into consideration.

Kristin Kuhar, Athletic Trainer at West Springfield High School, knows about the importance of noticing a potential injury, even if it doesn’t feel serious.  Although the types of injuries she has dealt with have ranged from a sprain to a dislocated shoulder, Kuhar acknowledges the importance of warming up and cooling down.  “Doing simple tasks such as these are necessary in order for the muscles to really stretch out and prepare for the sport at hand,” said Kuhar.  In addition to this, she said that being more aware of the body when it is under stress is very much advised.  Therefore, if you seem to be having consistent pain in a part of your body, it is best to tell your coach, rather than suffer a more severe injury down the road. Even if you think the pain is minor, it’s always good to double check.  However, if it does not, Kuhar says the better option might be to take a temporary break from exercise.         

Eric Stone, a sophomore on West Side High’s football team, endured a dislocated ankle in a freak accident during one of the early games of the season.  When a player on the opposing team landed on him and caused the horrific accident to occur,  “My initial reaction was pure shock.  I looked down at my ankle and couldn’t believe it was facing the opposite direction,” said Stone.  The official injury was a dislocated ankle, with a broken fibula and broken ligaments as well as a fractured growth plate.  After undergoing surgery, he now has six screws and two anchors in his ankle along with a plate on one side.  According to his doctors, the expected recovery time is 3-4 months all depending on his continued progress with physical therapy.  Although there is no key way to prevent accidents such as this, Stone advised that “staying with a healthy active routine is important to keeping your body and mind strong.”

Katie Beliveau, a sophomore on West Side girls varsity soccer, suffered a torn ACL in the beginning of the soccer season.  Her official diagnosis was an ACL tear as well as a minor MCL tear and a bone bruise on her knee.  “My initial reaction was being sad and upset because I knew right away what had happened and that I would be out of sports for a very long time”, Beliveau says.  Her recovery time is 3-9 months post surgery, and it’s a long, careful process.  There are ACL prevention training sessions that athletes can take part in; however, nothing is guaranteed.  ACL/MCL injuries are also commonly connected to female athletes, and studies state that females are more prone to attain ACL injuries, rather than men.  These injuries are usually classified as either contact or non-contact injuries.  There are multiple ideas as to why this is so, however, three factors have been identified to answer this popular question.  According to www.orthonc.com, the female knee is “more turned” to the midline of the body.  Female knees are also less bent when jumping and landing, which allows their legs to straighten rather than bend.  This is especially common when jumping, although it is not known why, it also happens to those who are well trained.  It’s also common that females run and jump with the soles of the feet in a rigid position and are directed away from the body’s center of gravity.  In other words, if you maintain a certain “stance” that allows stress on the knees, and there’s no balance, ACL/MCL tears can become very possible.  Preserving this composure has proven to prevent the occurrence of non-contact ACL injuries.  

According to a recent online article done on www.stack.com, there are a few major ways that athletes can ruin their bodies during their sports season.  The first of these few is that athletes stop working out during the season.  Often when an athlete is practicing with their team every day, they discontinue regular workouts.  As a result, they begin to lose power and strength.This will also increase the chances of injury because they aren’t able to correct any weaknesses and imbalances that will likely occur during the sports season.

Another way an athlete can ruin their body is to neglect recovery.  In other words, athletes who don’t take the time to properly stretch and recover from a game or practice are hurting themselves.  As much as this may seem like a minor thing, it can help prevent many potential injuries. In order to maintain proper recovery, taking the time to stretch before and after exercising, doing yoga, or massaging on an off day are all recommended.  

One last, and most times highly underrated, way an athlete can hurt themselves is to never take a break.  Often times athletes don’t know when to take a break from sports, therefore, leading to injury, because they don’t take the time to relax their muscles when they need it.  This can lead to tears, muscle strains and sometimes, much worse.  In order to prevent these injuries, taking a day off to simply relax and have time to yourself is healthy for the body and the mind. Optimistically, these first-hand tips and experiences should allow various athletes to prevent injury as best they can.  

 

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Preventing Sports Injuries