No parent ever wants to hear that their child has suffered a sports-related injury, but unfortunately, it does happen. Our team of Athletic Trainers is here to help your child and get them back to the sport they love as quickly as possible.
Oh no! Your child is experiencing a sports injury, what now?
Remember every athlete and each injury are different—just because two athletes have the same type of injury does not mean they will be treated the same. Just like a physician, every athletic trainer treats injuries differently depending on their background and experience.
First, it is determined if the athlete can be moved safely without making injury worse or threatening athlete’s life, such as in a spinal cord injury. If no, EMS is called and the Emergency Action Plan is activated. If yes, we continue with on the field evaluation, to determine the best means to remove the athlete from the field or court.
Determination of immediate care – 1 of 4 choices are made:
- The Athlete is permitted to return to practice or game.
- The Athlete is set out of practice or game to be re-evaluated.
- The Athlete is removed from practice or game.
- The Athlete is sent to the emergency room or urgent care for immediate evaluation by a doctor.
Actions based on evaluation:
- Athlete Returns-to-Play: an athlete can re-enter the game or practice with or without the use of tape or wraps. The athlete must be capable of preforming skills necessary for the position that they play.
- Re-evaluated: after a determined amount of time (usually after the athlete has iced the area) the athlete is re-evaluated to determine course of action. Re-evaluation may need to be performed due to pain level or the athlete’s mental state about the idea of being injured. The only time this option is not used is in the case of a possible concussion.
- Removed from play: if it is determined the athlete cannot continue physically or mentally one of the following will occur:
- The athlete will be re-evaluated the next day by athletic trainer.
- The athlete is referred to family physician or orthopedic surgeon.
- The athlete is referred to physical therapy.
- Sent to ER or Urgent Care: this is done if there is an obvious fracture or unstable fracture and/or the athlete needs medication for pain control.
Parents/Guardians are contacted by athletic trainer once care decision is made.
The athletic trainer will explain what happened, how the sports injury occurred and what they believe is the best course of action. If a referral to doctor or physical therapist is necessary, your athletic trainer can help you set up an appointment. If your athlete is a visiting player to a school for a game or competition, your school athletic trainer will be made aware of the injury if they are not present.
If a sports injury occurs during practice or during an event you did not attend you will be asked to pick up your child or have a teammate bring them home if their injury does not allow them to drive safely. If determined that your athlete’s needs require minimal intervention, they will be given a home exercise program to do at home or before practice.
Once the athlete is seen by a doctor and/or physical therapist, the provider in most cases will contact the athletic trainer to discuss treatment plans. This includes what the athlete can and cannot do during practice. Once cleared by a doctor and/or physical therapist, your child will need to provide a note of clearance to athletic trainer. Leading up to clearance, the athletic trainer will put the athlete through sports specific drills until the athlete is fully capable of preforming their task for the team.
If an athlete requires continued taping or bracing once returning to play, the athletic trainer can assist with application of proper tape and brace.
“The best piece of advice I can give to parents is not to compare their child’s injury and progress in return-to-play to someone else’s return timetable,” states Tiffany Rutschilling, AT, Director of Athletic Training. “An athlete must be both physically and mentally prepared to return-to-play before they participate in a game safely.”
Community Sports and Therapy Center is proud to partner with Mercer Health to provide athletic trainers for Marion Local, Parkway, Celina, Coldwater and Ft. Recovery schools. For more information on our Athletic Training program visit our website at www.cstcenter.com.