Dr. Jay Greenstein, CEO of Sport and Spine Rehab, summarizes what parents and coaches need to know to ensure that their athletes do not suffer from chronic repetitive stress injuries.
Pre-participation Physical Examination
- Can be used to identify deficits in athletes in areas such as balance, range of motion, flexibility, mobility, sensory motor control, etc.
- Once these deficits are identified, athletes and coaches will know what areas to work on in order to prevent injury.
When asking an athlete about a potential injury, try not to focus on the symptoms–the athlete might not want to admit to feeling pain or fatigue if they really want to compete.
- Instead, try focusing on the activity. For example, for an overhead athlete such as a pitcher, instead of asking “Is your arm sore Does it hurt or is it stiff” try asking “Is it harder to hit your target when you throw” Athletes are more likely to answer yes to that question than questions about specific symptoms and you will likely get a better idea of whether or not the athlete is fatigued and therefor at greater risk for an injury.
Early Specialization (playing one sport, year round) is linked to an increase risk of suffering from repetitive stress injuries.
- It’s best if an athlete does not specialize in one sport before the age of 16.
The 10% Rule
- If you increase the training duration or intensity by more than 10% at any given time, athletes tend to get injured.
Prevention of repetitive stress injuries
- Diversification–don’t specialize in a sport before the age of 16!
- Test for multi-directional balance–better balance equals decrease risk for injury!
- Prevention programs work! Make sure your athletes take part in a lower extremity injury prevention program such as for ACL tears.