Sports Injuries Among Student Athletes

 

Now that school is back in session across the area, student-athletes are hitting the field and the court. That means it’s also time for parents and coaches to be on the lookout for the tell-tale signs associated with common sports injuries.

Here are some common injuries we treat at Campbell Clinic during the school year:

 

Sprains and strains
Sprains and strains are soft tissue injuries that most commonly affect ligaments and muscles. These may occur as a result of an acute injury (a sudden twist or blow to the body) or may worsen over time due to a lack of rest and recovery following extended periods of strenuous exercise.

While these types of injuries are generally not serious and require only conservative treatment, they can still be quite painful and debilitating for an athlete, particularly if they are not allowed to fully heal. The best course of care to recover from a sprain or strain is the R.I.C.E. method – Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. Depending on the severity of the injury, an athlete may only need a day or so of rest, or they may require several weeks of physical therapy before returning to play if they suffer a severe injury, such as a high-ankle sprain.

In the most extreme instances, a tendon, ligament or muscle may be torn completely. Rotator cuff and elbow injuries in pitchers or ACL tears in football or soccer players are common examples of this type of injury. These injuries almost always require surgery and may cause an athlete to miss an extended amount of time from play. However, they are rare when compared to minor sprains.

Campbell Clinic offers a walk-in option at all five clinic locations on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. for injuries such as breaks, sprains, and tears.

Head or neck injuries
Head and neck injuries are most common in contact and collision sports, such as football, soccer and rugby, but they may occur in any high-speed or high-impact athletic competition. The most common type of “above-the-shoulder” injuries are concussions and stingers. Coaches, parents and trainers should educate themselves prior to the season on the common signs of a concussion, and if necessary, seek medical treatment when one occurs.

Campbell Clinic operates a concussion clinic Monday through Friday in Germantown for athletes. If a child exhibits symptoms of a significant concussion, such as vomiting, loss of consciousness, or numbness/loss of feeling in their extremities, they should be taken to the emergency room immediately.  Otherwise, they may be seen in clinic the next day for concussion treatment.

Heat illness
Mid-Southerners are no strangers to hot weather, especially this time of year. As with concussions, knowing the symptoms of heat illness is critical. Heat exhaustion occurs when an athlete’s body overheats and they sweat profusely, become nauseous, are incredibly thirsty, or have cool, clammy skin.

Heat stroke is more serious. During heat stroke, an athlete may stop sweating entirely, vomit, pass out, breathe rapidly, or have a significantly altered mental state as a result of their condition. Heat stroke is a medical emergency and patients suffering from it should be taken to the emergency room. Efforts should be made to immediately lower the athlete’s core body temperature, and immersion of their body in an ice bath is one way to do this before help arrives or they are taken to a hospital.

The physicians and staff at Campbell Clinic hope that all student-athletes stay safe this school year. Our Collierville clinic is located at 1458 West Poplar Avenue and accepts walk-in and scheduled patients five
days a week.

-Patrick C. Toy, M.D.