With the onset of fall and the return of students to scholastic sports, both youth and adult football players, soccer players, runners, cheerleaders, wrestlers, and volleyball players often change the intensity level or frequency of their activities, which predisposes them to potential injury. Advanced Orthopedics and Sports Medicine treats players of nearly every sport that is popular in the tristate area. Their orthopedic specialists explain that, regardless of the age or experience level of the player, following safety protocols can minimize the risk of painful afflictions.
There is no way to avoid every possible accident when playing sports. Even avoiding high-impact or team sports does not project athletes entirely. However, maintaining workouts in the off-season can help to make the transition back into full effort less treacherous. New research has supported the idea that over-specialization in one sport or position while the body is still developing is counterproductive and may lead to more physical risks.
Off the field, preparation is also necessary. Seeing a physician regularly to ensure that the player is fit to play is imperative, as is checking the integrity of any equipment used. Even worn out shoe laces can lead to injuries from falls or stumbles. Specialized safety gear often has an expiration date; equestrian helmets, so vital for protecting against traumatic brain injuries, should only be used for five years from the date of original purchase, and replaced after any impact. Football helmets have a maximum 10-year life span, shorter if a serious collision has occurred. Selecting, maintaining, and appropriately replacing any sports-related equipment and gear is an imperative practice.
Still, even with all the correct equipment in good working order, injuries occur. Dr. Jessica Arias Garau, MD, FAAPMR, double board certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and Interventional Pain Management, says this about fall sports: “I tell all my patients that you can’t predict every accident or injury, but you can reduce your recovery time by being in the best health possible, both through sports and wellness.” Football players frequently experience knee ligament and cartilage damage, while soccer players are more prone to sprains and strains in the lower leg.
How promptly treatment is received, as well as the quality of the treatment provided can make a difference in the speed and quality of the player’s recovery. Often, players don’t mention–or minimize–smaller injuries or discomfort and continue to participate, for fear of losing playing time or otherwise missing out. This is a harmful, and potentially dangerous, misconception. Addressing minor issues through physical therapy or other integrative, nonsurgical methods can ward off further damage and prevent the necessity for future surgical interventions.
The experienced practitioners at Advanced Orthopedics and Sports Medicine are available to address a wide range of fall sporting concerns.