We cheer for them, we encourage them, we want them to win because they are our athletes.
When it comes to sports, whether it be on the field, on the court, or in the pool, all athletes have one thing in common. Once they push themselves too hard, or are in the wake of an accident, they can get injured. No athlete likes being put on the bench, but it seems as though injury — from something as minor as slight shoulder problems from over rotation in swimming to getting a concussion in soccer and even to spraining or breaking your ankle in basketball or track — is an unavoidable part of being an athlete.
When faced with an injury, there are several general things an athlete can do — besides not practice — to get back into peak physical condition for their specific sport. The first of many things you can do for standard surface injury such as a bruise, a stub, or just general after practice pain is to visit the trainer. The first of many jobs of the training staff is to make sure that an athlete is feeling their best so that they can do the sport they love. Just walk in, tell them what’s wrong, and most likely it can be solved with some ice, a bit of heat, and rolling/stretching out the area.
If the injury seems like it could be more serious, go to the hospital or your local sports medicine clinic. This can be a great preventative measure so that the injury doesn’t lead to surgery or even worse, not being able to play the sport in question. Many injuries can often be solved with proper care and rehabilitation to the injured area. Most, if not all sports medicine centers can give an athlete an at-home, or in college cases at-school, rehab that can be done over time to improve the injury. While it may seem like a pain to do, it is one of the cases when the end justifies the means. If the injury heals, then the athlete can return to their sport.
So say all else fails and you end up with an injury that results in you being out for most of, if not the whole season. That’s okay. Things happen, and it is more important to recover correctly then to push to hard and make a bad injury worse. At the end of the day, as long as the recovery process goes well and the injury doesn’t prevent you from participating during the next season, then it is worth the time.
So remember athletes, if anything with your body seems to be wrong while practicing, make sure to follow up with it. That way, something small doesn’t turn into something major, and you don’t end up paying for it down the road.