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Getting back in the game: Injuries and preventative measures

By Jeehee Kim

Feb. 16, 2022

Julia Nakanishi Photo



With the increasing popularity of athletic participation in high school, specialization and year-round training have led to the concern that many student-athletes are at high risk for injury.


A study by Safe Kids Worldwide found that 90% of student-athletes experienced an injury during sports activities. Injuries among young athletes fall into two basic categories: acute and overuse. Acute injuries are caused by sudden trauma, which includes collisions with obstacles on the field or between players. Since high school student-athletes are often experiencing physical growth and puberty, they are more susceptible to tendon, muscle and growth plate injuries compared to adult athletes. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, the most common injury diagnosis is muscle sprain, reaching up to 42% during competitive sporting events and 50% during practice.


“I have been running in track and field for six years and my calf and quad muscles are constantly under hard strain. Due to extensive practices, I often find myself having difficulty walking due to pain afterward,” Brian Jackson ‘23 said.

Injuries that are not caused by a single collision are referred to as overuse injuries; they occur gradually over time, especially when an athletic activity is repeated so frequently that parts of the body do not have enough time to heal before the next time it is strenuously used. Both acute and overuse injuries may cause damage to soft tissues and bones in athletes, but overuse injuries—such as shoulder impingement—mainly affect tendons, ligaments, muscles and especially bones. Bones tend to first be affected from overuse injuries since continuous overuse leads to weak areas or small cracks in the bone, as per the University of Rochester Medical Center.


Sports injuries can also be divided into short and long-term effects. Short-term injury refers to torn ligaments, broken bones and lacerations. However, according to Tenet Health, various injuries, including the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury, may lead to long-term consequences. An ACL injury occurs when the ligament in the knee tears or over-stretches. It mainly occurs in high-impact sports that involve sudden stops or jumps, including soccer, basketball and tennis, and could result in the limitation of sports practices and competitions. Tia Chikara ‘23 has been playing soccer for 13 years but recently tore her ACL and meniscus, a pad of cartilage between the shinbone and thighbone. This injury has severely impacted her ability to play soccer as the recovery takes about nine to 12 months.


“My recovery process started with reconstruction surgery of my ACL and meniscus and now consists of physical therapy. I definitely learned a lesson to warm up longer before playing and eating healthier,” Chikara said.

Preventative measures such as injury surveillance, a collection of data that describes the occurrence of and factors that are associated with the injury, are available for athletes to refer to.

Specifically, the High School Reporting Information Online (RIO) compiles data from high schools across the U.S. needed to make recommendations on how to help sports be as safe as possible for student-athletes, in an effort to help prevent injuries and promote athletic success.


Another mode of injury prevention consists of active stretching and techniques to make it less likely for injuries to occur or recur. Healthline states that stretching keeps the muscles flexible so that they can stay at their fullest range of motion.

At the school, PrepandRoll is an athletic performance program run by student-athletes, and it holds muscle rollout sessions for the school’s sports teams.

“We focus on teaching student-athletes how to roll out their muscles using foam rollers and tennis balls, along with nutrition tips to support their athletic activities. As they learn during the session, our hope is that they will implement time to roll out during the day to release tensions in their muscles—and help prevent injuries,” Krystal Montgomery ‘22, PrepandRoll’s 2020 Principal Leader, said.

 

About the Contributors

Jeehee Kim

Media Staff


Jeehee Kim is a junior at Leland High School and is currently on the Media Team. She likes to listen to music, watch movies and K-Dramas, and talk to her friends and family.












Julia Nakanishi

Photo Director


Julia Nakanishi is a junior at Leland High School and the photo director for The Charger Account. She spends her free time taking photos with friends, playing video games and listening to music.

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