Return to School Means Return to School Sports

Return to School Means Return to School Sports

As summer winds down, it's time to head back to class — and school athletics. School athletics are an important part of childhood where kids get exercise, learn to work as a team and hone leadership skills. While beneficial, school athletics also pose an injury risk. According to the Johns Hopkins Medicine, approximately 3.5 million youth sports injuries occur in the United States annually. Each year, one in three participants seeks medical attention for a sports-related injury, with sprains and strains being the most common of injuries.1The good news: according to a 2014 study, strength training reduced sports injuries to less than 1/3, and overuse injuries were almost halved.2

Starting Slow Helps Prevent Injury

Proper injury prevention begins with graded return to activity. If you have not been participating in a sport-specific activity or exercise in the off season, it is time to start. Gradually begin to ramp up your participation. Improve your cardiovascular endurance by starting with shorter and easier runs, progressively increasing the distance, difficulty, pace and frequency of your runs. Be sure to include rest and recovery days and listen to your body's aches and pains to prevent overuse injuries.

Those participating in throwing sports should start with shorter distances, slower velocities and brief sessions until the body has adapted to the increased demands of the sport. For kids playing bat, club and racquet sports, it's time to start swinging, making good contact — and with time, add more power and reps.

With all sports, strengthening is a great way to prevent injury and improve performance. Talk to coaches and trainers about sport-specific training programs. Whether training independently or as a group in the gym, weight room or at home, a good coach can provide the tools and information to help students get conditioned and better able to increase strength, improve flexibility—and prevent injuries.

What If Injuries Occur?

If an injury does occur, coaches and/or trainers should be contacted first. They will appropriately care for or refer student athletes as needed. If a problem requires more attention than coaches or trainers can provide, Wisconsin River Orthopedics offers walk-in appointments and accepts outside referrals for injured athletes. Our expert staff of orthopedic surgeons, a nurse practitioner and occupational and physical therapists will provide complete care — from comprehensive evaluation and diagnosis to personalized treatment and intervention — to help athletes get back in the game and return to the sports they love.

For life-threatening emergencies, please call 911 or go to the nearest hospital emergency room.

To schedule an appointment or learn about how our skilled team can help your athletes stay at the top of their games, call 715-424-1881 or visit



2 Br J Sports Med. 2014 Jun;48(11):871-7. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2013-092538. Epub 2013 Oct 7.