It has been a truly busy season – in regards to injuries – where I perform my “day job”. I was going over some records that I keep and this season has been the busiest in my 15 years. In fact, when discussing with peers they too have had a high volume of injuries in the training room. I would say it is karma; last season we were as slow as I could remember.
Part of what I do in my job is to evaluate the injuries and determine if there are any that could have been prevented. Certainly preseason preparation – weights and conditioning – is a huge factor and we did that here, but there is always a place to learn and watch to make adjustments. In reviewing the injuries (over 50 – not all concussions) I’ve encountered that required medical care beyond the athletic training room the results were “good”. Only three were incidents that I considered “preventable”, one of which I posted about weeks ago. That is less than 10% of injuries that could have been prevented, which is good, not great, but good. In years past I have seen numbers as high as 25-30% of injuries that I deemed “preventable”. I take pride in doing my job and if I can prevent every single incident and only have injuries that occur on a “random” basis I will take it (has yet to happen in my 15 years).
Before we go further, I would like to give a glimpse into how I review injuries. We will use a tib/fib fracture we had this year; this player was injured in a game and to me that is “un-preventable”. However, a few years back we had a tib/fib fracture that occurred in practice – a practice with only “uppers” on and players were not supposed to take anyone to the ground – that incident was considered “preventable” to me. If players and coaches were vigilant to the rules of practice that player would never have been rolled up on during a tackle. Concussions are similar…
I feel that concussions can be “prevented” in practice with contact limits and proper technique during drills. The other two incidents, thus far, I deemed preventable occurred in practices and were concussions. One player was hit by a teammate during a non-contact soccer drill as a “joke” and the other did not use good judgement and ran into a pile and was rocked.
The take home here is that most injuries are part of sports and we must accept this. Also, athletic trainers have much more to worry about and analyze than most think.
All of the observation and learning also pertains to return to play; whether that be orthopedic rehabilitation or concussion return to play protocol. We, as athletic trainers, must express our voices when there is something going on that is a player safety issue. This can be as simple as modifying team warm-ups all the way to the case I had yesterday.
One of the concussed kids was on his final step for RTP (full contact practice), he is Continue reading