Regardless of Severity, All Injured Student Athletes Can Benefit from Physical Therapy
7,868,900 teenagers participated in competitive high school athletics in 2015/2016.*
Virginia ranks 15th in the nation for participation in high school athletics. More than 177,000 student athletes take the court, field, pool or track each year to compete for their school, themselves and their teammates. Unfortunately, at some point in a student’s athletic career he or she is likely to sustain a sports related injury. It’s simply a part of competitive sports. Like professional athletes, as students push themselves to win, injuries happen.
High school sports injuries range in severity. Ankle sprains will feel better with rest, while more severe injuries may require surgery to return to the sport. No matter the severity, however, every injury can benefit from physical therapy. Yes, your ankle sprain will feel better with rest and you will be able to return to competition. However, the likelihood of re-injuring the ankle goes up without therapy intervention. Therapy will help to speed up the healing and strengthen the injured body part to prevent re-injury once the athlete returns to his/her sport.
At Bon Secours, we know that many injuries occur because the body is out of balance due to weakness or a lack of appropriate sensation. If you inflict repetitive stress on a specific portion of your body more than normal, there will be a time that it won’t be able to withstand the pummeling anymore and that is when injuries occur.
Oftentimes in physical therapy, we work on the acute stage of the rehab, such as gaining range of motion and strength. What many do not realize is that the return to sport phase is just as important. At Bon Secours, we work with student athletes to get their body working together as a unit through different re-education exercises that duplicate and help translate to game-like movements. The purpose of these specific exercises is to help the athlete get the right and left side of the body to communicate together and work in sync.
Studies have shown the importance of movement sensation physical therapy. The positive effect it has on our bodies includes a decreased risk of injury. Deficits in the body’s core may contribute to decreased active control of the lower extremity, which may lead to an increased strain on the ligaments of the knee.**
The more athletes we treat, the more we discover that student competitors between the ages of 12 and 16 have the most deficits. The reason behind this seems obvious in its simplicity. These athletes are hitting their growth spurts between these ages. An increase in growth at more than normal speeds leads to lack of coordination. Think of a puppy tripping over large paws or Bambi stumbling on his long, wobbly legs. Both are clumsy until they grow into their bodies. It’s the same with our young athletes.
Even with the poor coordination, physical therapy can help these young athletes become more aware and learn how to train properly to return to the court, field, pool or track even more competitive than before.
* 2015-16 High School Athletics Participation Study: The National Federation of State High School Associations
** The Effects of Core Proprioception on Knee Injury: A Prospective Biomechanical-Epidemiological: Am. J. Sports Med. 2007: Bohdanna T. Zazulak, Timothy E. Hewett, N. Peter Reeves, Barry Goldberg and Jacek Cholewicki