Posts Tagged ‘high school athletes’

5 Tips to Make a Healthy Transition from Fall to Winter Sports

Transitioning from Fall to Winter SportsIf you think the holidays are a busy season you should trade places with a high school athlete who is juggling their studies, family life, and multiple competitive sports.   The transition from fall to winter sports can be overwhelming. For many high school athletes they play a fall sport such as football and then transition right into the next sport during the winter season.  These athletes are showcasing their versatile athletic abilities as well as learning valuable life skills such as time-management skills, discipline and commitment.

Even though many young athletes think they are invincible, it is important to prepare them and their growing bodies for the rigors of changing sports and using new muscles in order to prevent injuries.

As a physician at Emory Sports Medicine, I recommend the following:

  1. Take a short mental break for a few days to ensure your mind is ready to begin the rigors of a new sport and intense practice sessions.  Many injuries occur when a student athlete is being careless and not following the coaches instructions.
  2. Build a strong cardiovascular base by running, biking or doing other cardio exercises at least 2 times a week year round. The amount of cardio workouts you need to do is dependent upon the sport you play.
  3. Build Core Strength by doing some simple core exercises such as crunches and planks.
  4. Make sure the athlete has the proper footwear for the sport.  Transitioning from football cleats to basketball shoes can be a big adjustment.  The transition in surface (outdoor grass to wood floor) can in some cases lead to shin splints.  Proper shoes along with stretching can help prevent this from happening.
  5. Maintain proper nutrition all year round – in-season as well as off-season..  Although having a balanced diet is most important, all young athletes should make sure to eat a size appropriate amount of complex carbohydrates when participating in cardio intense sports. Doing so will ensure enough energy is present during the times when they are most needed!

Ensure your young athlete is ready to hit the ground running in winter sports by sharing these words of wisdom with them!

About Brandon Mines, MD

Brandon Mines, MD

Brandon Mines, MD, is an assistant professor of orthopaedics. Dr. Mines started practicing at Emory in 2005 after completing his Sports Medicine Fellowship at University of California – Los Angeles. Dr. Mines is board certified in both family practice and sports medicine. He has focused his clinical interest on sports injuries and conditions of the shoulder, elbow, wrist/hand, knee, foot and ankle. He is head team physician for the Women’s National Basketball Association’s (WNBA) Atlanta Dream and Decatur High School. He is also one of the team physicians for the Atlanta Falcons.  His areas of interest are diagnosis and non-operative management of acute sports injuries, basketball injuries, tennis injuries, golf injuries and joint injections.

Female High School Soccer Players 64% More Likely to Suffer from Concussions Than Males

Female athletes concussion riskShe’s only 16, but she’s already been playing soccer for over a decade. In that time, Alex Anne Matthews, a junior at the Lovett School in the Buckhead area of Atlanta, has broken several bones and sustained two concussions. Unfortunately, according to a new study, the injuries Alex has sustained over her currently 12-year-long soccer career are not only common, but more common for female high school soccer players than males.

During a soccer game on September 4th of this year, Alex hit the ground with force. “She came up from behind me and slide-tackled my feet out from under me, and I landed on my side, and the first thing to hit the ground was my head,” she recalls. Alex’s parents looked on as it happened, and as her mother, Anne Matthews puts it, “Alex Anne got up like she always does and staggered a little to her right. And Chip and I looked at each other and went, ‘that doesn’t look good.”

Despite a noticeable headache, Alex charged on and played in a second soccer game that same afternoon, but it wasn’t too long before routine concussion symptoms: nausea, dizziness, and blurred vision set in. According to Dr. Kenneth Mautner of Emory Sports Medicine, “There’s actually sheering forces that occur inside the brain, and the brain literally gets shaken inside the skull.”

But, according to a new study, it’s much more common (64% more common, in fact)  for female high school soccer players such as Alex  to sustain concussions than it is for males playing the same sport. So what makes concussions more common for female soccer players? Dr. Mautner says it could be a few things.

“Something just as simple as girls report concussions more because they’re more likely to say when they’re hurt and not feeling well,” according to Mautner, could be one reason. There is also evidence to show that stronger neck muscles in men and their ability to absorb shock more effectively may lower their concussion risk, or that hormones may make female athletes more susceptible to sustaining an injury.

Female athletes may also take longer to recover from concussions. For both men and women, however, Dr. Mautner emphasizes the importance of not returning to the field too soon. “There’s no one test to say you’re ready or you’re not ready, so we see how their symptoms are. They need to be completely asymptomatic at rest, they need to be asymptomatic with exertion.”

The findings of the study are not intended to alarm parents or child athletes, but rather, to help raise awareness around concussion symptoms and the importance of taking heed to them when they present themselves. Nausea, headaches, confusion, drowsiness, sensitivity to noise and dizziness are a few of the most common concussion symptoms.

Thankfully for Alex, six weeks after sustaining her most recent concussion, she is back on the field and pursuing her next goal, to play soccer in college. We’ll be keeping an eye out for her on ESPN in the coming years.

For more information on Dr. Mautner or Emory Sports Medicine, visit: www.emoryhealthcare.org/sports-medicine