Preventing Injuries On The Field

Thursday, September 1, 2011 - 9:46am

Physical therapist offers tips for keeping student athletes injury free.

It was a pop, then the dreadful realization that something bad had happened.

"My knee went in a different direction than the rest of my body and I just like collapsed," says 15-year-old Kate Stanley.

Kate is back in the game now playing varsity field hockey for Pennsylvania's Rador High School.

Last December during a basketball scrimmage she tore her ACL and meniscus, two serious knee injuries at once.

"It was a bummer," she says.

Kate was in a lot of pain and sought immediate medical advice, but sports related injuries aren't always so clear cut.

"If your child comes home and they are complaining of a sharp pain, intense pain in a muscle area, the best thing to do is some very light pain free stretching, icing for the first 24 to 48 hours and then if it resolves, if they have no symptoms walking around and when they get back to their activity at that point if the pain comes right back, then it's time to seek treatment," advises physical therapist Desirae Urban.

Urban says up to 40 percent of her patients are student athletes.

She says ankle injuries are a common injury that's confusing for parents.

Is it broken or not?

"If they're very tender, if your child is having a hard time putting weight on that foot, those are all signs that you most likely would like to get an X-ray to rule out a fracture," she says.

Urban says Kate's injury is not uncommon.

She says females are more prone to acl tears because of their body alignment.

"They put much more stress on their knees because of weakness in their hips," she explains.

Urban says hip strengthening exercises can reduce the risk.

The most valuable treatment, according to urban, is often time.

She says playing too soon can double the damage in more ways than one.

"If that tissue isn't healed it can lead to further injury in other areas of the body, maybe not from that muscle but from the student compensating with other parts of their body," she says.

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