Physicals are Key to Sports-Related Injury Prevention

Primary Care Physicians Help Patients Stay Healthy as they Become More Active

DAYTON, Ohio (September 13, 2011) – The return to school this fall also means the return to fall sports for many area student athletes. As physical activity increases, so does the risk for sports-related injuries.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, injuries from organized and unorganized sports account for 775,000 emergency room visits each year for children ages five to 14, making sports-related injuries the most frequent reason for an emergency room visit for 12- to 17-year-olds. Some of the most common injuries result from increased physical activity. Those include: sprains and strains, knee injuries, swollen muscles, Achilles tendon injuries, shin splints, dislocations and fractures.

“During a sports physical, we ask in-depth questions about medical and family history to identify cardiac-related risk factors,” said Dr. Nicholas Davis of Centerville Family Medicine. “A lot of times very serious problems can be hereditary. This gives us the ability to pick up on certain cues that may indicate the need for further testing and prevent more serious problems from happening.”

The key to remaining healthy during sports and other physical activity is prevention.  In addition to getting a physical, taking simple steps before activities such as stretching, warming up and hydrating helps prepare the body for physical activity.

“Every child, after the age of two, needs a yearly physical and then sports physicals once they reach middle school age,” said Davis. “Physicals are also an excellent time to educate parents and children about injury prevention.”

In the event that a sports-related injury occurs, proper treatment is essential for a full recovery. One of the most basic treatment methods for acute injuries such as sprains and strains is RICE—rest, ice, compression and elevation. Taking a break from physical activity, applying ice and compression, while keeping the area elevated, helps reduce pain and swelling and promotes the healing process. A follow-up appointment with a primary care physician is also important to discuss rehabilitation techniques in order to prevent re-injury.

“Often times people think that sports-related injuries and surgery go hand-in-hand,” said Davis. “In reality, the average active person simply needs physical therapy and rehabilitation.”

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