Sports-related injuries are prevalent, especially in children. Despite their common occurrence, many parents and children don’t know what to expect when a sports injury occurs. Having an idea of what the next steps will help put your mind at ease when and if a sports-related injury does happen to you or your child. This is a glimpse into what you should expect after a sports injury.

Assessment

The first step towards recovering from a sports injury is assessing it after it happens. This should be done as soon as possible. For acute injuries that occur suddenly, a field assessment should be performed before the player moves or goes anywhere for further treatment. Injuries that occur over time, such as tennis elbow, will generally be assessed by a primary care physician after a patient complains of pain or other symptoms. The function of an injury assessment is to determine the severity of the injury, plan the next course of action, and figure out what caused the damage to occur. Many acute injuries happen due to failure to wear safety equipment or follow protocols. The damage that happens over time, however, may have been unavoidable.

Creating a Treatment Plan

Once the injury has been assessed and diagnosed the treatment plan can begin. Your doctor will work with other specialists to decide if your injury requires surgery, physical therapy, rest, or another treatment method. Most sports-related injuries require physical treatment even if no surgery is needed. The physical procedure allows the athlete to regain the strength of the affected area without overdoing it and causing re-injury. The most important aspect of creating a treatment plan is the commitment that you have to stick to it. Rather than means a significant surgery or simple stretches every day to retrain a muscle group, consistency is critical.

Getting Back in the Game

Most sports injuries will eventually heal and allow you to get back in the game. Remember to ease back into your sport slowly and carefully to avoid reinjury. If you are unable to return for an extended period, look into other games that would be safe to play during your recovery! The sooner a sports injury is assessed and treated the more likely the player is to have a full recovery. Even if you just have chronic pain and don’t consider it an injury, you may be surprised to learn that your doctor disagrees.