Amarillo, TX - Some area high school athletes are starting to wear knee and ankle braces before they actually have an injury.
With high school athletes accounting for more than 500,000 doctor visits each year, sports injuries have become a problem.
Some studies found wearing a brace before injury can actually help keep athletes out of the doctor's office and on the field. The braces are designed to provide resistance against blows to the knee and ankle.
Randall High School's football coach said he's seen the braces help his players mentally too. "With some of the guys, it helps them just mentally to feel something that's kind of securing maybe an injury they've had already and just lets them not worry about it," said Coach Bryan Wood.
Randall High School linebacker Haiden Battin confirmed this. "I'm not as scared as getting cut when I have my brace on," said Battin. "I don't really have any worries when I have it on."
The preventative braces can get a little pricey. "The cost of them is around $350 usually, which sounds expensive," said Donjoy Braces salesman James Marlin. "But if a student has torn his ACL, you have the cost of MRIs and doctor visits and all these types of things. So it reduces the cost in the long run if they are injured."
For Battin, the brace is now something he is used to. "Towards the end of practice, I didn't notice it was there. It felt like it was just my legs and I didn't have a brace on."
College athletes have been using preventative braces for about five years, but the braces are just now coming to high school level sports in the Panhandle. Despite some studies saying the braces reduce the risk of injuries, there are mixed reviews from doctors if preventative braces actually work.