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One of the worst feelings an athlete (as well as a parent of an athlete) can experience is an in -season injury. In my experience, the biggest fear of everybody involved is the uncertainty. Is it bad? Do I need surgery? Is my season over? Is my career over? Am I going to play again? What about my chances of playing in college? All of these concerns race through the athletes mind during the moments and days after the injury.
As a former athlete, the dad of two athletes, and a team doctor I have experienced all the possible emotions relating to sports related injuries. As a former athlete, I understand the desire to get back on the field as soon as possible. As the team physician, I understand how important it is to get the best players back on the field to help the team succeed. However, my job as the athletes’ physician supersedes everything. A player is never cleared to return to their sport unless it is safe to return, and the injury would not be made worse by return to sports.
All however is not lost! Many injuries, once diagnosed, may require much less time out of sports than you may think. The process begins on the field with your trainer. Listen to the trainer, they are the ones in charge of initial diagnosis and treatment. Our Coordinated Health trainers have the cell phones of most of our team doctors, and direct connection to the scheduling department. The sooner you are seen by me, the sooner we can make a plan for diagnosis, treatment and return to sports. Here at CH, I have the ability to see patients 6 days out of the week, and almost universally within 24 hours of the injury. We have quick access to Xrays, MRI’s, Physical Therapy, and if necessary, operating rooms.
Many injuries are minor, and only short term recovery is necessary. The key is rapid diagnosis, strategy planning, and early treatment. All of this is made possible by the awesome team assembled here at CH. So, if you are injured, it may not be as bad as you think. A full, successful season, may still be in your future.