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Champlain Valley Orthopedics
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Middlebury, VT 05753
We've had a rash of reinjuries in our high school girls soccer team. As the assistant coach, it's my responsibility to help the girls prevent reinjuries. I'm scratching my head trying to figure out what we might be doing wrong. Is there any research out there that can help me?Reinjuries are common among high school athletes. None of the sports are immune to this problem. Football, volleyball, basketball, soccer, wrestling, baseball, and softball all come with an increased risk of sports injuries.
Sometimes it helps to see what's happening in high school sports re: injuries and reinjuries reported across the U.S. A recent study from Ohio State University reported that recurrent injuries occur more often during competition than in practice. High school football has the highest rate of competition-based recurrent injuries. Volleyball has the lowest rate of competition-based recurrent injuries. Volleyball players are more likely to injure themselves during practice.
In sports played by both sexes (volleyball, soccer, basketball, softball, baseball), girls have more recurrent injuries playing soccer. Girls participating in soccer, softball, and basketball had the highest rate of recurrent concussions.
How does this information help you? It gives you some idea of what to watch for and when. Knowing that reinjuries occur more often during competition may change the way you coach the girls during practices and games. Keeping players from staying in the game is your job. Do it diligently and with an eye toward prevention for every team member, but especially your stronger players. It is tempting to keep your best player in more than is safe. Each win is important but the team may be adversely affected if a key player is out with a preventable injury for the season.
Make sure injured team members have sufficient recovery time before reentering practice and competitions. We still don't have evidence-based guidelines for safely returning players to the game. But preliminary results suggest that completing the full rehab program may be more important than we thought. Players are eager to return to play and don't always finish the last phase of rehab that fully prepares them for competition.
With concusions being a common injury in soccer, it's important to make sure the player is fully recovered before returning to practice. Be aware that a second (or even third) concussion can lead to more severe symptoms and can even result in death. Recurrent concussions resulting in a life-threatening condition are called second-impact syndrome
. Disability or death from second-impact syndrome is certainly a good reason to find ways to prevent sports injuries.
Sometimes videotaping practices and games gives some clues that might help your particular team members avoid injuries. Breaking down plays that result in injury can help isolate and identify risk factors that might be specific to a team member or the team as a whole. And, of course, proper protective gear must be worn at all times.David M. Swenson, et al. Patterns of Recurrent Injuries Among US High School Athletes, 2005-2008. In The American Journal of Sports Medicine
. August 2009. Vol. 37. No. 8. Pp. 1586-1594.
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