Recurring athletic injuries can be prevented

As a student at Northern Kentucky University, I would like to inform all student athletes about the recent increase in student athlete injuries. I played volleyball for six years in high school and went through two comprehensive shoulder surgeries, therefore making me unable to participate in any sports at Northern. I am not going to blame anyone in particular for my injuries; I would just like to make you aware of the risks and try to find a reason why these injuries are happening.

According to Dr. Suken Shah, a doctor with Kids Health, there have been 775,000 sports-related injuries in youth sports since 2000, with over a quarter of them being serious. So why are these injuries happening? The main reason is overuse. As kids, we are being pushed more and more to play multiple sports. If a child does obtain an injury, their body has no time to heal before the child is re-entered into the sport. This injury tends to follow the child through high school and even into college. The problem is even more serious when an injury occurs in high school or college level sports because the sports are so much more competitive.

With overuse of muscles, athletes tend to have reoccurring injuries. The re-injuries tend to occur when the athlete does not allow enough time to heal. This is somewhat related to overuse and lack of rest for competitive athletes. In my case, I had surgery in December of 2000 and was playing volleyball again in February with my physical therapist. Then before I knew it, after two years of varsity volleyball and little conditioning, I was having surgery again.

So what can you do as an athlete to keep this problem from happening to you? My best advice is not to “play through the pain.” If you are hurt in a sport, be it intramural or Division II, do not think that the injury will simply go away if you ignore it. Doing this will only make it harder on you and make it harder for your body to heal. I am in no way trying to tell you to avoid competitive sports, but I am only trying to prevent what happened to me from happening to you.