Injuries are part of sports. I hear that from many of you when I write articles on injuries in different sports. I understand that idea. I also realize the desire to compete that many of you have. I know the pressure you feel to play so you don’t let
your coaches and teammates down or lose your starting position. I also know that you can make injuries worse by playing through them. It’s time we changed our attitude about injuries.
Take concussions, for example. If you don’t tell your coaches or medical staff that you’re dizzy or have a headache, no one may realize that you suffered a concussion. You might stay in the game without being evaluated. But you also risk suffering a more serious head injury that could have long-term consequences.
This concept applies to all of you and to all injuries and not just concussions. I’m not suggesting that you stop playing or training for any minor symptom. I do think that it’s worthwhile, though, to have injuries evaluated to make sure you aren’t at risk for making them worse.
I would ask all athletes to keep this idea in mind when trying to play through any injury. I’m talking to you, the 12-year-old pitcher with elbow pain for six weeks who now has an elbow fracture. And you, the high school senior gymnast who neglected foot pain for six months only to find out you have a stress fracture just as the season starts.
To all athletes: If you have pain, get it checked out. So many athletes resist going to the doctor for fear of being shut down from sports, or worse, fear of needing surgery. But most sports injuries actually don’t need surgery. And despite what you think, sports medicine doctors generally don’t want to shut you down. We want you playing and competing for titles. Having your injury evaluated might get you back playing sooner and with less fear of worsening the problem. It’s time to change our attitude about injuries.