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Keeping Athletes Safe From Injury

  • Category: Sports Medicine
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: Robert Grumet, MD
Keeping Athletes Safe From Injury

Hoag Orthopedic Institute (HOI) Sports Medicine doctors are on the field with high school, college and professional athletes throughout the year and help identify injury trends and issues to be mindful of for everyone from weekend warriors to elite athletes. Robert Grumet, MD is an expert HOI Sports Medicine surgeon and team physician for athletes at Irvine, Mater Dei, Crean Lutheran, St. Margaret’s High Schools and Chapman University, who shares about injury trends and tips to stay healthy for all athletes.

Injury Trends for Fall 2021 into Spring 2022

In Spring of 2021, there was an uptick in sports injuries with the return to sports after almost a year of little to no high school sport activity due to the COVID-19 pandemic. During that time, we saw an almost two-fold increase in knee injuries, including ACL tears, MCL sprains and patellar/ quadricep tendon tears and muscle strains. Now, almost a year later in 2022, we’ve seen the number of injuries normalize to pre-pandemic levels. This ultimately emphasizes the importance of conditioning and consistency in helping to prevent injuries in active individuals.

Benefits of Cross-Training for Single-Sport Athletes

It is unilaterally agreed upon by sports medicine experts across the board that cross-training is an important factor promoting the success of athletes and lowering their risk of injury. Athletes should include additional methods of exercise beyond their preferred sport which utilize different muscle groups, movement patterns and stretches. Running, cycling, yoga, and pilates can have a profoundly positive impact on athletes across all sports by improving flexibility, endurance and strength.

Injured? Don’t Push Through the Pain

One of the trends we see among young athletes is the desire to “push through the pain.” Doctors, athletic trainers and medical professionals are trained to identify when an athlete may be playing with an injury and when to potentially remove that athlete from competition. An athlete may think they can keep going or work through the pain, but in reality, they may be risking further and more severe injury, and ultimately and longer recovery time. If you or your athlete are experiencing joint or muscle related symptoms (pain, swelling, stiffness, instability, etc.), no matter how minor you feel it is, please consult with your athletic trainer, team doctor or primary care physician. Many issues are treated conservatively, but recovery can be accelerated with early intervention.