How to Prevent and Treat Sports Injuries

When it comes to sports injuries, concussions are the 600-pound gorilla everyone is talking about, but sprains and strains are much more common.

Jason Brackins, Mountain Hope Good Shepherd Clinic’s physician assistant, sees common-sense prevention as one way to cut down on sprains, strains and other sports-related problems. His recommendations include:

Sprains and strains: –Warming up is important before participating in any sport. “Stretching is crucial in preventing strains,” he said. If a strain or sprain happens, don’t make it worse by continuing to play. It’s important to avoid reinjury by stopping the activity. If the injury persists, seek medical attention, Jason advised.

Prevention: Athletes should ensure they have plenty of water on hand. “Hydration is an absolute must in the warmer months,” Jason said. So is wearing sunscreen to prevent sun damage. Sunburn can occur even on cloudy days.

Concussions are big news these days, though not as common as sprains and strains. The news emphasis is on football, but concussions can occur in any sport — when two athletes bang heads, for instance. Every high school coach in the state has to take a class on recognizing and treating concussions, Jason said, but that doesn’t mean everyone in charge of a sport – or playing in a pickup game — has had that training.

Seek immediate medical attention for a suspected concussion. “The days of going back into the game have long gone,” Jason said. Re-injury can lead to all kinds of bad long-term consequences for a player’s health. The athlete should not participate in the sport again until a physician has given the OK.

Physicals: High schools mandate physicals for their athletes, but church leagues and other groups may not. If you intend to play regularly it’s a good idea to get a physical, according to Jason.

Risk: Finally, “Every child and parent should know the risk associated with each sport,” he said. That doesn’t mean children should be afraid of sports; there’s some risk involved in every activity in life.