Spotting Sports Injuries

January 12, 2009 6:09:50 PM PST
Every year, 1.4 million teenagers are injured while playing on their high school sports teams. This is keeping experts are busy trying to figure out a way to pinpoint which athletes are more susceptible to injuries. New research shows it may be a simple as adding a few new steps to the yearly physical.It starts in the locker room, builds on the practice field -- and by game time, the intensity of the Hillsboro High School football team is explosive! But hard hits take a toll. A knee injury forced defensive tackle Marvin Hughes to sit out for nine months.

"When you're on the sidelines and you see your team getting excited, you just want to run out and play with them," Hughes told Ivanhoe.

Physical therapist Trent Nessler is trying to spot potential injuries before they happen with a series of tests.

The first test measures balance. The drill measures stability of the ankle, knee, hip and spine. A slight difference between the left and right sides means the athlete is at a higher risk for a leg, hip or back injury. The second test involves jumping. If an athlete's knees turn in when landing, it means his or her ACL is vulnerable to injury. The final test examines squats. Shifting weight to one side loads the ankle, knee, hip and spine unequally -- which can result in injury.

The goal is to create a workout to strengthen the athlete's weak points. Studies show sports injuries drop 80 percent when athletes follow an appropriate exercise program.

"If we were allowed 6 months ago to put him in a position that injury is not an issue -- oh man, that is huge," Scott Blade, head football coach at Hillsboro High School in Nashville, Tenn., told Ivanhoe.

The new test will hopefully prevent athletes from feeling the pain -- before the game even begins.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:

Baptist Sports Medicine
Nashville, TN
(615) 284-GAME
http://www.baptisthospital.com

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