The best way to deal with sports injuries is to keep them from happening in the first place. Think of avoiding injury as just another part of playing by the rulebook. Knowing the rules of the game you're playing and using the right equipment can go a long way toward preventing injuries.
Common reasons why teens get injured playing sports include:
There are two kinds of sports injuries:
If you think you've been injured, pull yourself out the game or stop doing your activity or workout. Let a coach or parent know what happened in case you need to see a doctor.
Call a doctor when:
You can get a sports injury anywhere on your body. Here are some key points to know about common sports injuries.
Serious head and neck injuries happen most often in athletes who play contact sports (like football or rugby) or sports with the potential for falling accidents, such as horseback riding and gymnastics.
Head injuries include fractures, concussions, contusions (bruises), and hematomas. A hematoma is bleeding or pooling of blood in or around the brain caused by an impact to the head from a fall, forceful shaking of the head, or a blow to the head.
Neck injuries include strains, sprains, fractures, burners, and whiplash, which is an injury to the neck caused by an abrupt jerking motion of the head. Neck injuries are among the most dangerous sports injuries.
Never try to move someone who may have a neck injury. A mishandled neck fracture could lead to permanent paralysis or even death. Keep the injured person still with his or her head held straight while someone calls for emergency medical help. If the person is lying on the ground, do not try to move him or her.
Most back injuries are caused by twists or overexertion of back muscles during bending or lifting movements. Back injuries are most common in contact sports like football and ice hockey, or in weightlifting, rowing, golf, figure skating, gymnastics, and dancing.
Injuries to the sex organs usually affect guys more than girls because the penis and testicles are outside the body and are more exposed. Injuries to the uterus or ovaries are rare, but breast injuries are a common complaint among teen girls. As the breasts develop, they often can be sore, and a blow from a softball or a collision during field hockey can be painful.
Hand, finger, and wrist injuries can happen after things like a fall that forces the hand or fingers backward, or a direct blow. As with other injuries, hand and wrist injuries are most common in contact sports, such as football, lacrosse, and hockey, or in sports like gymnastics, field hockey, rowing, and basketball where the fingers, hands, and wrists are at risk.
Feet and ankles are particularly vulnerable to injury in sports that involve a lot of running. Another reason for foot injuries is wearing the wrong shoes, especially if someone has flat feet, high arches, or other foot differences.
Your first question after a sports injury will probably be, "When can I play again?" This depends on the injury and what your doctor tells you. Even if you can't return to your sport right away, a doctor or physical therapist might have suggestions and advice on what you can do to stay fit. Always check with your doctor before trying any activity following an injury.
A rehabilitation program also can help you stay fit as you recover. If rehabilitation ("rehab" for short) is part of your treatment program it might include exercise, manual therapy from a physical therapist, and ultrasound or other technology to help relieve pain and promote healing.
When you've recovered, you might need new protective gear to protect an injured body part. This can include modified shoes, tape to provide extra support, or additional padding to protect against a direct blow.
To help prevent reinjury, be sure to warm up before practice and games. Take it slow when you first get back to your sport and gradually build back up to your preinjury level.
Most importantly, know your limits. Check in with your body: if a previously injured area (or any body part) begins to hurt, stop right away and rest. Get help from a doctor if the pain continues. Pain is your body's way of saying something isn't right.
|American College of Sports Medicine This site has tips on staying safe while playing sports and exercising.|
|National Athletic Trainers' Association This site contains information on certified athletic trainers and tips on preventing and healing sports injuries.|
|Safety Tips: Running Injuries can be common, and runners should always be aware of their surroundings. To keep things safe while running, follow these tips.|
|Sports Physicals Just as professional sports stars need medical care to keep them playing their best, so do teenage athletes. You can give yourself the same edge as the pros by making sure you have your sports physical.|
|Safety Tips: Basketball It may be fun to play and great exercise, but basketball is also a contact sport, and injuries occur frequently. To help make sure you're doing everything you can to stay safe on the basketball court, follow these safety tips.|
|Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Injuries ACL injuries - which are common in active and athletic people - happen when excessive pressure is put on the knee joint, resulting in a torn ligament.|
|Safety Tips: Soccer Soccer is easy to learn at a young age, and it's great exercise. But it's also a contact sport, and injuries are bound to happen. To help prevent mishaps, follow these safety tips.|
|Physical Therapy Physical therapy helps people get back to full strength and movement - and manage pain - in key parts of the body after an illness or injury.|
|Knee Injuries Healthy knees are needed for many activities and sports and getting hurt can mean some time sitting on the sidelines.|
|Sports and Exercise Safety Playing hard doesn't have to mean getting hurt. The best way to ensure a long and injury-free athletic career is to play it safe from the start. Find out how.|
|Sports Center This site has tips on things like preparing for a new season, handling sports pressure, staying motivated, and dealing with injuries.|
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