Tips To Protect Your Student Athlete

One group with the highest number of injuries are student athletes.

NewsChannel 10's Stephanae Benson did some digging to find out how they can avoid being hurt on the field. Athletic trainers say, you want to keep your athlete active, but you want to vary the activities like cross training.

Alexa Hughes pulled a muscle in her shoulder during freshman year basketball...and it still bothers her now as a junior.

"I can't sit back straight anymore because it just pops out when I pull my shoulders back, so I just try to loosen up those muscles so it's more comfortable."

Hughes is just one student athlete who has sprained, strained, torn a ligament or fractured a bone while playing sports.

"We probably see anywhere from 500 to 800 injuries a year. Major injuries that require surgery 10 to 20 a year." said Athletic Trainer, Bruce King.

King says one reason for the increase in injuries is most athletes participate in one sport. So they are constantly using the same muscles year round.

"We might see more injuries because of the overlap of the seasons, like the end of basketball and the beginning of track and baseball season, so you have a lot more athletes participating. This time of year."

That's why king says it's important for athletes to vary their training routine to keep injuries to a minimum.  Many of these injuries can be debilitating. Like in Hughes' case, she requires daily physical therapy to deal with the pain.

"It just hurts and grinds and catches when I play."

In addition to cross training, athletes can do flexibility exercises, warm up before playing and cool down afterwards. They should also play within safe ranges for their size and use properly fitted protective gear.