By Dev K. Mishra, M.D.
President, Sideline Sports Doc
Clinical Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, Stanford University
This month we’ll be starting collaboration with a great company called CaptainU. We’ll feature CaptainU podcasts periodically, on fitness and performance issues of importance to young athletes. I think you’ll find these podcasts relevant, interesting, and occasionally controversial- which makes for great listening!
First, a few words about CaptainU. This is a great service principally targeted at connecting young athletes seeking to play their sport in college, their parents, and college coaches. Together CaptainU has built a substantial community of about 500,000 members. By way of a disclaimer neither Sideline Sports Doc nor I have any financial relationship with CaptainU but our family believed strongly in what the CaptainU service can do so we paid for CaptainU subscriptions for our sons when they were going through their college selection process. We found the service extremely helpful for researching and communicating effectively with coaches, and their advice for the process of college recruiting was absolutely correct. As a young athlete if you market yourself correctly to the best-fit colleges your chances of gaining a spot on a college team are actually quite good. Not only is their method effective but it’s actually fun! Their “Make The Team” eBook is available for free download from our website.
Several months back, CaptainU started a blog and series of podcasts delivering information on a variety of sports related topics relevant to high school aged athletes. I’ve had an opportunity to be on their show a couple of times now and as we get our work with CaptainU kick-started I’d like to feature a podcast I did with them titled: “What To Do When You’re Injured”. You can access it here:
The podcast lasts about 30 minutes- perfect length for a drive to and from practice, or plugging in during a training run. Here are some of the key points that we cover in detail:
- Prevention starts with appropriate preseason conditioning
- End of season injuries are common simply because the athlete has been exposed to more training and games, which makes a body vulnerable to injury
- In-season injuries that are evaluated and treated properly by a trainer, physical therapist, or sports medicine physician can often be effectively treated at the same time the athlete can remain playing.
- If you just can’t perform in the way you must to be effective in your sport because of a lingering injury you need to seek some help.
- “Pain” is not normal for a young athlete. Almost all young athletes are capable of making a difference between “pain” and “soreness”. If you think you have pain, get help and get on the path to healing.
- Communication with the coach also needs to start in the preseason, noting that the health of the athlete is critical to the team’s overall success.
- An athlete should use the athletic trainer for school sports and their parents for club sports as an intermediary when it’s necessary to discuss an injury. A clear line of communication with the coach is important, and timing of the discussion is important too (never right after a game!).
- If you do have to take time off from your sport to rehab an injury you can almost always come back stronger and better than you were before.