Your teen's health is a priority as a coach or parent, but injuries do occur during sporting events, practices, and regular activities. Teen athletes who play sports like basketball, football, soccer, track and field, or cross country have a tendency to incur knee injuries. Injuries like cuts and bruises are minor, but anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and medial collateral ligament (MCL) injuries or strains take much longer to heal. A teen may need to sit the season out for rehabilitation to recover from the injury, or have surgery to repair the knee.
Bruises and scrapes are the most common injuries to teen athletes by far. A bruise is noticeable because of the collection of blood at the injury site. This collection of blood discolors the skin, and is much more easily seen on lighter skin tones. These spots are often sore, and the knee takes the brunt of the impact from falling, tripping or being brought to the ground by another athlete.
Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears are common in teens who play sports such as football, and basketball. It is also common for soccer and baseball athletes from swift "cutting" movements like stop-and-go and pivoting. Though a common injury, it is even more common in teen girls. One of the best ways to avoid an ACL tear is to conduct proper jump landings. Be sure to keep the knees flexed and the hips bent. Do not lock out the knees.
Cuts and Scrapes
During any sport a teen athlete can fall or trip causing cuts and scrapes. Cuts and scrapes vary, but should be cared for immediately so they do not get infected.
Torn medial collateral ligament (MCL)
The medial collateral ligament (MCL) is a big ligament in the knee cap that connects the thigh bone to the shin bone. This ligament, along with the lateral collateral ligament (LCL) is on the side of the knee. These ligaments keep the knee from overextending in side to side movements.
This ligament can be torn due to the knee being swept from the side during contact sports such as football and soccer. This causes the knee to bend inward, which is an unnatural movement.
Teens with this injury often say they hear a pop. If this occurs, your teen athlete should not do any further activity and see a physician immediately.
Strains and sprains of the knee
Strains and sprains are common knee injuries. A strain is a complete or partial tear in the muscle or tendon, while a sprain is a partial or complete tear of the ligament. Overuse from sports practices or games can account for these strains and sprains. Strains and sprain injuries are common among teen Track and Field athletes, who also suffer from scrapes and bruises.
Proper coaching and conditioning can help reduce these injuries.
Lisa M. White
Copyright ©2011 CPT Lisa M. White™. All rights reserved.