Sports play an instrumental role in many middle schoolers’ lives. One of the greatest disadvantages of playing sports is the injuries that come with them. Injuries cause some athletes to end their careers much earlier than expected and they can stop athletes from reaching their full potential. Middle school is the turning point for many athletes in terms of injuries. The body starts growing at a faster pace and this causes athletes to have a higher chance of getting chronic kinds of injuries like muscle strains, sprained ankles and tendinitis.
“I tore the ligament in my ankle as I landed, it took me two months to recover from.”– Alice Hay Smith
When recovering from injuries there are a few key steps to discover the severity and the impact of the injury. Ms. Jenny Newell, the middle school athletic trainer, said that it is crucial yet difficult to determine whether what the athlete is feeling is pain or soreness. “Figuring out the difference between pain and soreness is difficult during the middle school age group. Pain is usually something that is… acute, tends to get worse over time, tends to get worse when you keep doing the same thing,” said Newell. “Soreness tends to be a bit more of your body getting used to something. And pain is subjective. So it’s different for every single person.”
The reason why it is important to find out what type of injury the athlete is suffering is because different types of injuries need to be treated in different ways.
Injuries force athletes to not play for a while , seventh-grade football player Mikhaeel Khamissa suffered a knee injury last spring while slipping wearing the wrong footwear. He said that one of the main disadvantages was his confidence. “When I came back, I didn’t play as well. For example, I wouldn’t give my best in matches and that affected my performances. I was definitely a lot more cautious, sometimes I wouldn’t go in for tackles.”
Not playing for extended periods of time is not just tough physically due to the fact that the body needs time to get back into the shape that it
was in. Avoiding injuries is possible but it takes time and
effort. Ms. Newell said that acclimatizing is very important to prepare the body for physical activities. Acclimatizing is when your body adjusts to a new environment to allow yourself to showcase your best performances. “Let’s say that we had our normal start to the football season. You wouldn’t schedule and play games on week one. You need to have time to do something called climatization. And that includes being climatized to the weather, as well as getting yourself into sports specific shape.”
The most common sports related injuries are concussions, knee injuries and ankle. Concussions are mostly treated with rest taking a break from physical activities. Furthermore, knee and ankle injuries can both be treated by different types of therapy/recovery tools and certain exercises. Most of the time, the best and most effective way to treat a knee or ankle pain injury is by taking a break from physical activity which helps the part of your baody that feels pain and giving it time to recover.
Grade eight football player, Rakan Kawash, got into a collision last month which resulted in tendinitis in his knee. He has been recovering for the last 3 weeks and he is still on his way back to full fitness. A physiotherapist recommended that he uses bands to build up muscle around his knee for the first few weeks then to slowly get back into more intense recovery like foam rolling and jogging.
“ I had a session with a physiotherapist who told me that the most important thing was to take a break. To lessen the time off the break I need to start with light exercises and progress into more intense exercises.”
Taking breaks or taking time to recover from sports is a crucial process because the body can get to a point where it can’t cope any longer. Kawash said that his injury lead him to understand the importance of recovery and breaks.
“I was playing a lot of football and it tired my body to the point where I was definitely going to get injured.” The benefit of using bands is the fact that they are so versatile in terms of the part of your body that you use them on. In addition, they can be used as a recovery tool or an exercise that isolates a certain part of the body. Jennifer Newell said this about them, “Bands are versatile. Both for warming up, cooling down, strengthening and rehab.” In conclusion, there are so many different tools and injuries, an athlete just needs to find something that they feel works for them and dives them the confidence to get.