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With scholarships and college acceptances on the line, high school sports have become more competitive and challenging. High school athletes account for over 2 million yearly injuries, with 30,000 leading to hospitalizations. It’s important to ensure that your teen is taking preventive measures to avoid getting injured and sitting out for a game, or worse, a whole season.
Our orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine expert, Matthew Moralle, MD, is here to explain the most common injuries for popular high school sports so you can educate your teens on safety measures to keep them feeling whole all season long.
According to Dr. Moralle, “Football is the most popular high school sport in America for boys, with over a million athletes participating every year. There are twice as many high school athlete injuries playing football than in other sports. That’s because football is a high-contact sport.”
The most common football injuries include concussions, ligament sprains and fractures.
Basketball is another high-contact sport that can lead to hip and thigh injuries and ankle sprains.
Volleyball is one of the most popular high school sports in America for girls, with about 500,000 athletes playing every season.
“Ankle injuries are the most common injury in volleyball,” explains Dr. Moralle. He continues, “While most ankle sprains need rest and physical therapy to heal properly, some sprains can be associated with hairline fractures or cartilage injuries that require greater care.”
“The most common soccer injuries are ligament sprains, muscle strain and concussions. It’s also possible to sustain a neck injury when heading the soccer ball,” warns Dr. Moralle.
Baseball and Softball Injuries
Practices and games for these high school sports can involve minor injuries — and ones that need a surgeon’s care, too. Pitchers are the most vulnerable to injuries, especially shoulder and elbow overuse injuries.
Dr. Moralle clarifies, “Depending on the severity, these muscle sprains and strains may require surgery, which means players can sit out for an entire season.”
Cheerleading and Gymnastics Injuries
With all the stunt performing, jumping and tumbling these talented athletes do during practices and competitions, there are some injuries to be aware of. “While concussion rates for cheerleading and gymnastics are lower than in other high school sports, they can still occur,” says Dr. Moralle.
Other frequently seen injuries in these sports impact the ankles and ligaments, such as sprains.
The most common swimming injury is swimmer’s shoulder. This injury can be caused by rotator cuff impingement, bicep tendonitis or shoulder instability. “These injuries require medical treatment and physical therapy to get the athlete back in the water safely,” Dr. Moralle explains.
How to Prevent Sports Injuries
With any sport, injuries can happen. It’s important to remind your teenager of safety guidelines and preventive measures they can take to avoid injuries when possible.
Here are some ways Dr. Moralle advises your teen to protect themselves while playing:
- Get a sports physical with their primary care physician before the start of a season each year
- Learn stretches that can help loosen tense muscles before and after practices and games
- Make sure they’re warmed up before playing or practicing
- Remind them to inform you of any pain they are experiencing, even if they think it’s minor
- Stay hydrated before, during and after practices and games
- Wear all necessary protective equipment, such as helmets, mouth guards and shin guards
Expert Care Close to Home
Sitting out for a game or even a season is never fun, but it’s important to allow injuries to heal properly before getting back in the game. At AdventHealth, our care team crafts a game plan to get your teen back to their sport stronger than ever at a safe pace.
Visit FloridaOrthoExperts.com to learn more about our sports medicine and orthopedic care and how we can help your child recover from, and prevent, high school sports injuries.