We need to turn the ship around. It has to stop right here. Normalizing injuries is not good and we are all guilty. Picture a 15 year old kid now who is constantly fighting injuries…
Now, picture that kid at 40 years old, unable to REALLY play sports with his kids, run around with them, enjoy their craziness.
THAT is what hangs in the balance of our decision to put the “strive for greatness”on the back burner and start caring more about what is best for the future of that young man or woman. If you think about it, most of us are not very good at prioritizing the things now that will benefit us in the long run.
Last week we talked about normalizing teen behaviors that might BE the norm but should not be considered normal.
This week, let’s talk about injuries in youth sports and how we have normalized them as well. Remember, what we expect and tolerate, we get more of. *Make sure to read to the end to hear the INSPIRING testimony from an athlete that could help your athlete(s) in a big, big way...
I have a theory...that there are TWO overlooked things happening at the root of athletic injuries. Until these two things are addressed, injury rates will continue to rise and stories like Melissa’s will keep occurring.
Melissa’s shin splints started in 11th grade. She played soccer year round. It progressively got worse and by the time she got to a Division 1 college program, the shin splints had turned into Compartment Syndrome. The worst part about all of this was she KNEW something was terribly wrong based on her feet going numb, tingling...but people kept telling her, “Stretch”.
Side Note: Stretching but refusing to REST is like ordering a big mac and fries at McDonald’s and than uttering the request to the cashier, “And a water, please.”
The stretching, like the water, is obviously good for you, but it will do very little to “combat” the excessive running, or in the food case, the big mac and fries.
Melissa had to sit out most of her freshman year. How DEFLATING! D1 scholarship and you cannot even play your first year.
And because she had some not so helpful nor inspiring coaches, they wrote her off and sat her on the bench in the spring since she was unable to participate in the fall.
Fast forward to the summer before her sophomore year…she recently had to have two surgeries to have a chance at correcting the compartment syndrome, but the issue is still there. She is having numbness and tingling when she cuts or sprints. The damage is done.
She is in the middle of making one of the hardest decisions she has had to make up to this point in her life: to save her body for the next 65+ years of her life by quitting the game she loves earlier than she should have to. And this is at least in part because of all the wear and tear on the same muscles, tendons, and tissues over the past 10+ years, without adequate recovery done consistently season after season, year after year.
I believe the best personal trainers and sports performance coaches of the future will place heavier emphasis on recovery and injury prevention.
So here is my theory...obliviousness and fear are the two root causes of increased rates of injuries in youth athletics.
The parents and coaches who are not connecting the ever so apparent dots between chronic injuries and chronic wear and tear on the same muscles/joints/ligaments/bones (which equates to chronic sport playing and chronic running.
Fear and Conformity
At the expense of long-term joy, health, and performance. Primarily, the fear of falling behind or missing out is the reason athletes keep playing year round with NO TIME OFF.
Kids are getting used to be injured. This is bad news. It is so not good for their mindset and certainly not good for their performance. Many also refuse to tell coaches or parents when they are injured. It drives me nuts. They don’t want coach to write them off. They KNOW the will not get praised or recognized if they are not playing sports. Sad, really sad.
I’ve always said, “It does not matter how strong, fast, gifted, or skilled you are. When you are injured, you better become a motivating water boy (which is an important role I must add- different article though).
Listen to this testimonial from one the the WISEST student athletes we work with:
“I just came off of a two week break (that is, NO PLAYING SOFTBALL, at all, just foam rolling, stretching, and recovering).
When I came back, I hit the ball so hard it broke the net I was hitting into. I couldn’t wait to get back onto the field, a feeling of excitement I haven’t had in quite a while.”
If your kid wants to:
✅Stay healthy and avoid injuries
✅Keep JOY and enthusiasm for sports high
✅Crush it, perform better than ever before
I recommend time off. Strategic time off. If you need help with understanding what they looks like, we will share our 12 Month Secret Success Formula for healthy athletes next week :-)
Dedicated to your athlete’s success,
Join the Love-Powered Leadership Movement- an uncommon, highly effective approach to raising confident, successful, joy-filled athletes--> www.pfpfit.com/lpl