For as long as I can remember, I’ve always felt that there needs to be a greater focus on injury prevention in high school and college athletics. As one who has coached others, I believe it would benefit coaches to utilize a more diverse set of resources to educate our young athletes. In youth athletics, there is a great need for health coaches; professionals trained to assess the health of athletes rather than performance coaches who are just focusing on the game. Without health coaching, young athletes can get hurt and those injuries can last a lifetime. In general, a curriculum with more injury prevention (discussions, films, and materials) as well as prevention assessments of the athletes themselves would prevent a lot of the injuries I see coming through my office.
As it stands today, the current athletic sports physical requirement for the State of Illinois, in my opinion, is poor and far too limited in scope to be of any value in evaluating the athlete for potential injuries. With the current standards, the physical examination does not assess instabilities in the knees, the ankles, or the integrity of the shoulders and spine. In actuality, the entire physical component of the athlete is not well evaluated at all.
Their exams do not lead to prevention of injury, but only assess the number of young athletes that might be at risk of severe asthma attacks or have heart conditions. Although these issues rarely happen, they are the stories that stand out in the media.
Still, as of today, no injury prevention mechanisms are in place and, there still need to be more detailed assessments. Because there do not seem to be any changes happening on that front in the near future, our organizations will continue applying pressure. This is such a serious issue that it cannot be ignored.
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