It’s back to school season, and students of all ages are gearing up for a new year of sports. There are many benefits from participating in sports–building teamwork, self-confidence, etc. But along with those benefits, it’s important to know that student athlete injuries are real–and that every sport comes with the risk of injury. Injuries can happen at anytime, not just on game day, in fact, 62% of injuries occur during practice.

When an injury does occur, you should always talk to your doctor first, but we encourage you to include a physical therapist on your team to help with injury prevention. With that in mind, here is a list of the most common injuries and what you can do to help prevent them.

Injuries caused by overuse are often not easily detectable, and may be confused with general aches and pains. Some common overuse injuries to keep an eye out for are Achilles tendinitis, runner’s knee, shin splints or pitching elbow.

To help prevent overuse injuries, be sure athletes are taking time off from playing–at least one day a week of total rest, and 2 to 3 months off per sport. Stretching and proper form are also crucial in preventing overuse injuries. If your student participates in multiple sports that require similar repetitive motions, they’re at a bigger risk of overuse injuries, and rest is even more important for them.

Sprains and Strains
Injuries to the ligaments (sprains) and to the muscles (strains) are also common. Increasing flexibility by incorporating stretching into your student’s daily fitness routine is a good preventative measure, as well as performing conditioning exercises during practice to increase muscle strength.

Stress Fractures
Stress fractures, or injuries to the bone, are best prevented by wearing proper gear, using proper form, and stopping if pain starts. In growing kids, tenderness over a bone should be checked out by your pediatrician even if swelling or pain is minimal.

One of the most common concerns of parents of student athletes, concussions are more common in high-impact sports such as soccer, football, softball and baseball. The best prevention is proper head gear and following the rules of the game which usually discourage unnecessarily risky movements. If you’re student does experience an injury to the head, you should seek medical attention right away. When in doubt, pull them out of the game. Some common signs of concussion are confusion, loss of consciousness, memory loss, nausea, and blurry vision, among others. Again, seek medical attention immediately if a concussion is suspected.

Student athlete injuries are a real concern, but it’s no reason to keep them from playing. Talk to your child about the risks of the sports they play and know the signs to look for when injury does occur. Monitor your child, and keep open communication with their coaches. If your child starts to experience any pain, it’s best to hit the bench rather than play through the pain.

If your student is experiencing any of these sports related injuries, visit your friends at Momentum Physical Therapy for a Pain Relief Assessment. We are conveniently located in and around San Antonio and offer extended hours every day of the week. If you would like a professional opinion/assessment, sign-up for a FREE Pain Assessment here. We will then contact you to schedule an appointment for you to come in and have someone screen you or your family member. Our goal is to get you healthy for life!