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Aug 12, 2022

How Sports Injuries Affect Your Athletic Program

How Sports Injuries Affect Your Athletic Program

As a college athletic trainer, you’re tasked with bringing out the best in your student-athletes. However, as you strive for greatness, you may face difficulties dealing with sports injuries within your team. A promising athlete could be sidelined at any time by a shoulder, lower back, groin, or foot and ankle sports injury. That said, one of the most common sports injuries affecting young athletes is damage to the knee.

Let’s look at the causes of knee injuries in sports and what you can do to prevent them.

What Causes Knee Injuries in Student-Athletes?

 Sidelined college football player watches team practice.

Basketball, football, soccer, track and field, and volleyball are just a few of the sports that require players to have healthy knee joints to perform at their best. Sudden or repetitive movements or pressure on the knee joint can result in knee pain and injury when running, jumping, or pivoting. A few of the most common knee injuries in student-athletes are:

  • Osgood-Schlatter Disease: A player gets this condition when the patellar tendon in the knee pulls against the top of the shinbone.
  • Patellar Tendonitis (Jumper’s Knee): This condition causes swelling and inflammation of the tendon between the kneecap and shinbone. Basketball and volleyball players are particularly prone to developing this condition.
  • Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (Runner’s Knee): This is a common injury affecting track and field athletes. It is a cartilage irritation on the underside of the patella (kneecap).
  • Fracture: This type of knee injury may be more common in athletes who place the majority of their weight on one leg.
  • ACL Tear: This occurs when the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in the knee is overstretched or torn. Tears are usually difficult to recover from and may result in permanent loss of mobility.

How Sports Injuries Affect Your Team

Knee injuries can occur from either excessive wear and tear or sudden trauma. Some injuries, such as patellar tendonitis, can heal with sufficient time and rest, but others have far-reaching and life-altering effects. Such injuries frequently necessitate expensive surgery and months of physical therapy to heal properly. Among the most severe are ACL tears, which are often career-ending.

Female student-athlete stays hydrated during practice.

Athletes may face physical and mental setbacks while in recovery. Watching their teammates go on without them can be a difficult emotional blow. The team also loses a valuable asset, which could affect their season’s outcome, especially if the injured athlete has exceptional talent.

How to Protect Athletes from Sports Injuries

College athletic trainers can help prevent athletic injuries by ensuring their players have proper nutrition, hydration, and form when exercising. They must also be careful not to overtrain their athletes, as this could put undue stress on their bodies.

Another responsibility of a trainer is to perform accurate risk assessment. For example, it may be prudent to remove some players from a game before it ends to avoid injuries if victory is certain.

Athletes can also take preventative measures to reduce knee injuries, such as:

  • Keeping a healthy body weight
  • Stretching before and after practice
  • Wearing knee pads and other protective gear
  • Avoiding practicing on unstable or uneven surfaces
  • Wearing correctly-sized shoes with adequate arch support.

These measures on the part of the trainer and athlete can significantly reduce athletic injuries.

How A-G Management Protects the Athlete

Even with the best of intentions and extra precautions, some team members are bound to get hurt. Unfortunately, many student-athletes and sports programs underestimate the likelihood and severity of injuries. As a result, they are unprepared for the consequences when they occur.

A-G Administrators offers comprehensive insurance that keeps all of your sports programs protected. To find out more about student sports injuries and their impact, download this study.

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