Archive for Injuries
If you have an athlete, there is going to come a time where they get injured. Ankle injuries are VERY common and can happen when you least expect it. So how do you know if it is a sprain or a break?
That photo is of my daughter’s ankle a few weeks ago. She had just finished cheer season and was returning to the dance studio. She did three classes and in the final 15 minutes of her last class of the night she did a leap – like the ones she has been doing since she was little – and for some strange reason she just landed wrong and ended up in a heap on the floor.
Her ankle swelled IMMEDIATELY (this is a clue).
I have been around kids and sports long enough to know that if an injury swells up immediately, you do not play the wait and see game. You go directly to the Emergency Room. No questions asked. GO.
When we got to the ER they immediately did x-rays and the x-ray did not reveal a break of any kind, so they diagnosed it as a sprain, gave her an air cast and sent her home.
I also know that the ER does not always get things right and that their job is to care for the critically injured/sick and as far as they were concerned this is not critical.
The next day I called the Pediatric Sports Medicine Orthopedic group that we have used in the past and they definitely wanted to see her. They took a look at the same x-rays, spent some time talking with her, examining the injured area and they came back with a different diagnosis. Yes, there was a hairline fracture and significant soft tissue damage and she was best treated by putting her leg in a cast for three weeks.
In the end, there is no way you as a parent or a coach can diagnose a sprain versus a break yourself. Yes, there are some indicators – such as swelling, ability or inability to move the affected area, pain levels – but when in doubt, get it checked out. It could be the difference in your child returning to play in a few weeks versus dealing with months of recurring injuries, pain and discomfort.
My daughter is sporting a nice pink cast for the next few weeks, but I am confident that once it is removed, she will be healed and ready to get right back to cheering for basketball and for dance.
With three athletes in the house, it seems like one of them is always looking for an ice bag to help with an ache or pain. I have long used a bag of frozen vegetables as ice bags because the flexible ice packs you buy at the store can run between $8-12 depending on where you buy them. However, I just learned that you can make your own reusable ice packs for about $1.25 – and with a little bit of food coloring, each kid can have their own color coded ice pack (so I know who to nag when it doesn’t get returned to the freezer – LOL).
Basically, you need zip closure plastic bags (in either the quart size or the gallon size), rubbing alcohol, water and food coloring. There is also a version you can make with dish soap. The alcohol serves two purposes – it helps keep the water even colder and prevents it from freezing all the way so you get a flexible shape. The higher the alcohol content the “slushier” the ice pack will be.
To make your own flexible ice pack:
Mix 1 part alcohol with 3 parts water in the ziploc bag size of your choice, add food coloring, insert in second bag, remove as much air as possible and freeze – courtesy of OneGoodThing by Jillee
Mix 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol with a 9 oz bottle of dish soap in the ziploc bag size of your choice, add food coloring, insert in second bag, remove as much air as possible and freeze – courtesy of the Krazy Koupon Lady
Keep in the the freezer for after practice or game injury management. You can also use them in your cooler to keep food cold on gameday.
** Be sure to remind kids NOT to drink these (EEEWWW YUCK) and always put a barrier between your skin and the ice pack like a thin towel.
Image Source: Real Simple
With two athletes in high school now I am so happy to know that our high school and state have placed a priority on concussion awareness and education in all sports at the high school level. I was at the school earlier this week for fall sports night – a night where ALL fall athletes and their parents must attend to get information from the administration on academic eligibility, expectations and concussion awareness. Every athlete in the school from the cheerleaders to the swimmers to the cross country runners to the football players and everyone in between must go through the ImPACT test when they first join the team so there is baseline data on every athlete in the event they suffer a head injury.
What is the ImPACT test? From the ImPACT website:
ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing) is the first, most-widely used, and most scientifically validated computerized concussion evaluation system. ImPACT was developed to provide useful information to assist qualified practitioners in making sound return to play decisions following concussions.
If you have a student athlete who does a “non-impact” sport, you may not think that concussion education is important, but according to our school’s principal, the first athlete they had to retest following a head injury was not a football player or a soccer player, it was SWIMMER who had stood up in the locker room after a hard race and passed out immediately hitting her head on a counter top as she fell. My son also suffered a head injury this spring while swimming when he misjudged the wall and ended up with five stitches in his forehead (no concussion though). So, really, you just never know and having that baseline data is just so important for managing a head injury when it occurs.
Did you know that 90% of concussion occur without the loss of consciousness? Did you know that the effects of a second and third injury have compounding repercussions if the initial injury is not completely healed?
When in doubt, as a parent or a coach, if you have an athlete that has sustained ANY LEVEL of head injury – with or without the loss of consciousness – sit them out and get them evaluated! There are more important things in life than playing hurt.
While it is great to see high schools, colleges and professional sports leagues taking concussion education and monitoring seriously, I would encourage pediatricians offices and/or youth sports leagues to offer baseline testing as well.
For more information on concussions in youth sports, concussion education and concussion testing, see the following articles:
- Virginia Athletic Trainers Concussion Resource Page
- Find out if your state has state mandated concussion laws to protect your athletes
- New laws on concussions to protect student athletes
- Find out more about the ImPACT testing and how to get it into your athlete’s school or league
- Mouthguards as a concussion prevention tool
- Girls soccer only second to football in concussion numbers
- New documentary explores female athletes and concussions
- Concussion information