Monday, February 23, 2015
Soccer Injury Prevention is a Care Partnership
By: Darin Tessier, MD with Brookwood Sports and Orthopedics
I recently attended a youth soccer event in South Florida where hundreds of parents and participants saw the inevitable; a serious soccer injury. Current statistics from the STOP Sports Injuries association show 22% of all youth sports injuries occur in soccer.
As an orthopedic surgeon with a primarily focused sports medicine practice, I am committed to treating patients that are injured in sports and must get back to the field or court as quickly as is safe. However, my primary responsibility to my patients is the ongoing prevention of injury.
As with all successful athletes, soccer players spend a great deal of time of working on their own perfecting their skills. Many times these athletes neglect proper warm-up routines as they see this as impeding their actual practice times. Too often coaches and parents adopt this same approach. Stretching and proper warm-ups can and do reduce injury risk.
Other injuries occur because soccer players do not use proper technique as they play. Again, in the name of competition, a player may extend him/herself from an overexertion perspective to aggressive play that causes serious to permanent injury. From heat stroke to head injuries, many of these can be controlled through prevention. Proper hydration in hot and cold conditions, proper heading techniques, falling and tumbling drills, and regular agility drills can prevent needless soccer injuries.
Injury prevention is a care partnership between the coach, athlete, parent, and healthcare provider. Each has a role to play in injury prevention on the soccer field. No one in this care partnership should be seen as an adversary. Rather, each should work to support the ideas of safety, time management, and competitive spirit.
Should an injury occur I advocate the following protocol with my patients.
1. RICE. Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation are essential for immediate care of extremity injuries. The proper management of swelling can make the difference in accurate diagnosis to speedy recovery.
2. Communication. Each member of the care partnership must communicate effectively and honestly in order to establish an accurate care plan. This requires scheduling, initiative, resources, and motivation to accomplish.
3. Rehabilitation. I appreciate the work that my athletic trainers and physical therapists provide in the care partnership. When I order these services I make sure that the service is close the patient’s work or home. Unless this is the case, many patients are deterred from fully engaging in the benefits of training and therapy.
4. Surgery. I prefer a conservative course of treatment prior to surgery, but many times it is the only recourse.
Darin Tessier, MD is an orthopedic surgeon at Brookwood Sports and Orthopedics in Birmingham, Alabama. He received his training at the Medical College of Texas in San Antonio, Texas, and his fellowship in Sports Medicine with Dr. James Andrews. Dr. Tessier can be reached at 205-877-BONE (2663) or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org