Don’t Play Through the Pain

It’s the last quarter of the football game with two minutes on the clock. A player takes a hard hit and is slow to get up. He hurt his ankle, but insists he’s fine and can keep playing. He ends up scoring the game-winning touchdown, securing the victory for his team.

The next morning, he visits the Vereen Center because his ankle is still in pain. He finds out that if he had stopped playing after the initial injury and just rested his ankle for a few days, he would have been OK to play again early the next week. Because he insisted on playing through the pain, he did more damage to his ankle and now has to sit out of practices and games for the next two weeks.

This scenario happens more often than you’d think. Athletes will sustain an injury and then try to push through the pain to keep playing. They think they’re being tough and doing it for the team, but what they may not realize is that playing through the pain puts them at risk for further injury and jeopardizes future playing time. In some cases, playing with an injury can lead to an athlete having to give up the sport altogether.

While concussions have received a lot of attention in recent years – and rightfully so – they are not the only injuries that put athletes at more risk if they continue to play through them. Sprains, tears, and fractures can become worse and develop into more serious injuries when not given the proper attention.

When injuries do happen, Athletic Trainers can evaluate athletes immediately and be an advocate for their best interests, especially when tensions and emotions are high and an athlete may be trying to conceal the extent of an injury. By noticing slight changes in range of motion or response times, Athletic Trainers can determine if athletes can keep going or if they need to sit out to prevent further damage.

For more information, contact the Vereen Center today.