Every day while walking around school, I see at least five people either walking using crutches or without them yet limping with a knee brace. Almost every time, those injuries were caused by a sport, whether it’s soccer, football, etc. These knee injuries, while they may be as severe as ligament tears or just minor sprains, can destroy a team’s roster and a player’s career.
This past spring, I tore a tendon in my knee which has put me out from all sports since. Because of this, I’ve begin looking into reasons about why and how this happened and what I could have done to prevent it.
By looking deeper into the topic, I found that the solution is simple to overcome the knee injury “epidemic”– leg workouts. There are strengthening exercises designated to build up the surrounding muscles to put less stress on knees. This is as easy as squats, leg lifts, lunges or knee extensions.
After playing competitive sports, I’ve only had one coach who, during practice, set aside time to do specified exercises he had found to prevent knee injuries. That year, not a single player was out due to ligament or tendon tears, an occurrence that isn’t very often in girls sports.
Not to criticize other coaches who don’t take these measures and don’t take the exercises very seriously, but I found it rather upsetting that if my team had set aside five minutes from each practice, it could have prevented me from being out these past four months.
Every coach I’ve ever had always conditioned at the end of practice and completed various core workouts, but rarely have I ever done lower body exercises during the practice time. Players are encouraged to stretch, eat healthy and ice, but never exactly to build up their leg muscles.
Because of the high rate of these specific injuries along with other minor problems, teams’ rosters can be destroyed by a lack of healthy players. Instead of experiencing these problems, coaches should be proactive and better prepare players for the possibility of being hurt and this should start at the high school level.
Speaking from experience, high school sports result in injuries, especially in girls soccer. Some players are less experienced and don’t know how to safely play. Because of this, some competitive coaches find themselves not wanting players to play high school and hurt their competitive team’s roster.
Rather than holding people back from the high school sports they want to play along with their friends, couldn’t we become better prepared and not make such injuries inevitable? It’s saddening that we could prevent this, but we choose not to take simple precautions and instead watch as player after player are hurt by playing what they enjoy.