Back to school means it is time for fall sports like football, cheerleading and soccer. Cross country and golf are also fall sports.
Sports are big in high school, offering the opportunity for exercise as well as being part of a team. However, a risk of participating in a fall sport is injury. While the risk of injury should not be a reason to not participate, it’s still important to learn what can cause fall sport injuries so your child can best avoid them.
What are some common fall school sports injuries?
Concussions as well as knee injuries lead at the top of the list. Most fall sport injuries are fortunately minor, but some are more serious and require immediate medical attention.
Understanding concussion symptoms and seeking medical attention following a blow to the head can help to prevent a more serious outcome. For many sports, baseline concussion testing is done at the beginning of the season. This is to monitor and measure the damage should an injury occur.
- Loss of consciousness
- Trouble focusing or double vision
Always seek medical consult for any blow to the head.
Changing direction quickly can lead to twisted knees, sprains and ACL tears. Overuse can also lead to an increase in knee injuries. If the knee is swollen, it could mean it is strained or there is some bursitis. This is usually reversible and healed through rest.
An ACL injury is more serious, although it can range from mild to severe and is graded on a scale. Surgery may be needed; however, some more minor injuries might heal with rest and rehab.
Sprains and strains
Running, changing direction and quick movement can also lead to sprains and strains. These injuries range from mild to serious. Some sprains will heal with rest while tears from an ACL injury may need surgery. Any joint can be sprained.
With contact sports this risk is a little higher, but when playing sports athletes often experience injury from a fall and bracing themselves. Sprains and strains usually heal with rest and avoiding activity for a short period of time.
What can be done to prevent these common injuries?
Getting an annual sports physical is a good starting place to understand if your child has any physical challenges. From there, it is best for them to train to build the strength and flexibility needed to perform in their sport.
- Always begin with a proper warm up. Have a routine to introduce your body to the activity. Stay warm in between periods of rest and playing time by stretching or doing some light jogging on the sidelines.
- Cross train to avoid overuse and to strengthen muscles. Joints supported by strong muscles are less injury prone. Build in different types of exercise to help avoid overuse injuries.
- Use the proper equipment. Wear all safety gear required and make sure your equipment is in good condition.
- Eat right and get enough rest. Nutrition is a big part of injury protection, so know how to fuel your workouts and what to eat following competition. Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.
Which high school fall sport has the most injuries?
Both football and soccer compete for the most injuries. With football, players at least have the protection of a helmet. However, in soccer, concussions can more easily occur from unintentional contact as well as some contact with the ball.
Cheerleaders are at risk for concussions as well since they can fall while performing their stunts. Falls from higher than five feet can lead to concussions. Performing gymnastics can lead to sprains and fractures from hard landings, too.
Learn about the orthopedics and sports medicine services we offer at Mercy Health.