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Toni Peng

This article by Toni Peng '23 discusses common injuries among young athletes and ways to help prevent them. 

During the winter activity season, we saw more students chose to join sports. It is also the time students suffer the most due to injuries during practice or games. Mrs. Melissa Brault, Perkiomen's athletic trainer, who has lots of experience with dealing with different injuries, sat down for a Q & A session with Perkiomenite staffer Tony Peng '23. 


What do sports trainers do?

A sports trainer’s job is checking whether students do their warm-up and cool-down properly. A sufficient warm-up can help improve athletic performance in many ways, to be specific, our muscles are normally tight, so when we call on them for activity, they are weak and unable to extend all the way. Because of this, people normally get injured quickly after getting into a high-intensity exercise. Sports trainers also help athletes deal with injuries that do not need surgery, they have the most efficient technique to help injured athletes get rehabilitation, and give advice on what motions they should avoid doing.


What are two common injuries in young athletes?

To begin with, the different injuries can be caused by two groups of sports: high contact and low contact sports. Examples of high contact sports are basketball, soccer, football, and any other sports that have lots of body contact between athletes. Whereas the low-contact sports are things like swimming and track.

  1. Ankle Sprain: Ankle sprains are acute injuries, which means that they happens quickly. This is an injury that happens the most in high contact sports. An ankle sprain is usually caused by the unbalance of people’s bodies or ankles.
  2. Overuse: Such injuries can be found the most over low-contact sports. This injury is caused by using a part of the body for too long. When people have an overuse injury, they often feel their joints or muscles are hurting.


Tell us more about injury levels. 

The injury level can be identified into three grades, and each grade has its own treatment technique. For example, if you sprain your ankle and hurt your ligament (a piece of tissue that is used to connect bones to bones; it’s like a rubber bond which is stretchy and strong), the trainer or the doctor will use the grades to determine how bad the injury is.

Grade 1 (mild): In the first class of ankle sprains, your ankle is basically rolled and causes an inversion sprain. Such a level of injury can be recovered in a fast time if the patient takes the right medicine and gets enough rest.

Grade 2 (moderate): Grade 2 is defined as moderate, which means the patient is having an injury that is worse than grade 1, but not as bad as grade 3. In this case, the ligament is partially torn. The patient must get rest and do enough strengthening under the guidance of their sports trainer.

Grade 3 (Severe):This is the worst amongst all the injury levels. In this situation, the ligament is completely ruptured, or the bone is broken. A grade 3 injury usually requires the patient to be sent to the hospital and get surgery, because the tissues are unable to recover by themselves.


What are other factors that can affect athletic performance?

Actually, athletes’ performance can be affected in many ways. One of the major factors is the equipment athletes use during games and practices. To be specific, incorrect size helmets, unsupportive shoes, and other low-quality equipment can limit a player’s performance in acceleration, flexibility, reactivity, and more. The wrong equipment can even cause injury on athletes, such problems happen a lot to professionals.

Furthermore, not getting enough sleep is also a factor that affect an athlete’s performance. Without enough sleep, a person may be less sensitive, meaning that he is less likely to react quickly and think clearly during the game or practice. Insufficient sleep also affects people outside of athletics, such as in class participation.