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Playing Through the Pain: When It's Safe to Return to Play

Updated: Aug 17, 2022

It’s every coach and parent’s worst nightmare – player injury. But when is it OK for players to play through the pain and when should you step in to prevent a potential injury from worsening?

The best tactic is to avoid injury from the start, by warming up, staying hydrated, and practicing good form.

But injuries happen - in fact, more than 3.5 million sports-related injuries occur among children and teens each year in the United States. As parents and coaches, it’s up to you to know how and when to help your player navigate injuries. Here’s how:

  • Treat every injury as a serious injury.

  • Seek and follow professional medical advice.

  • Listen to your players if they say they aren’t feeling well

  • Check all equipment before and after games and practices to make sure it isn’t damaged or compromised.

  • Pay attention to your players during training and games to make sure they aren’t pushing themselves too hard and risking injury.

  • Keep an eye out for limping, loss of balance or falling. Some players may not tell you they’re injured.

  • Ask players what happened, where the injury is and what it feels like. Terms like “pop,” “crack,” or “tear” are usually indications of a serious injury.

  • Look but don’t touch. If the injury immediately bruises, swells or bleeds, it’s likely serious.

Most importantly - when it doubt, keep them out.

It’s always best to be safe than sorry when it comes to player injuries.

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