As student athletes in Parker County return to the field for two-a-days and the community anticipates the familiar sights and sounds under the Friday night lights, experts at Medical City Weatherford are offering tips to keep young athletes healthy. Though many sports can cause injuries, football is the leading cause of school-sport injuries due to the overuse of certain muscles or sudden injuries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“While parents cannot be on the sidelines protecting their children from in-game injuries, they can do more than just buy the right gear and equipment for their kids,” says Gregory Bratton, MD, family and sports medicine physician at Medical City Weatherford.
Dr. Bratton offers these tips to prepare youth athletes for the season:
Get a pre-season sports physical. “This isn’t the same as an annual physical,” cautions Dr. Bratton, “During a sports physical your doctor will look for things related to athletic issues, not just overall health and wellness.”
Don’t encourage “playing through the pain.” Whether it is an ankle sprain or a simple feeling of illness, athletes should not be allowed or encouraged to play if they do not feel healthy.
Know the signs of a concussion. In prior years, seeing stars was just another part of the game. Today, physicians understand the significance of concussion. “Playing through a head injury is one of the worst things kids can do because they can cause permanent damage,” says Dr. Bratton.
Repetitive concussions are particularly dangerous and could lead to irreversible brain damage. See a doctor immediately if your athlete has any combination of these symptoms after a game or practice:
- Memory loss
- Dilated pupils
- Feeling dizzy
- Sensitivity to light
- Mood swings to extreme lethargy