Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
Is it OK to play in pain?
by Dev Mishra, February 17th, 2012 1:52AM
Subscribe to Youth Soccer Insider

MOST READ
TAGS:  high school boys, high school girls, youth boys, youth girls

MOST COMMENTED

By Dev K. Mishra, M.D.

"What’s the difference between discomfort and pain? And is it OK for me to keep playing if I just have a little bit?" Those are two of the most common questions I’m asked by injured young athletes, and I'm guessing the same is true for our sports medicine colleagues across the country. The answers are different from person to person, and specific to the type of injury too.

Pro athletes know that there’s risk involved in their sport -- their profession. Medication is sometimes used to get an adult, pro player through a game. I have a very hard time using that approach in a young athlete who has a long lifetime of activity ahead.

There are many factors that go into a decision whether we allow a young athlete to play through some discomfort, whether we recommend that they take time off, or whether we prohibit them from playing. Key amongst the factors is the exact diagnosis of the problem, and some other factors we consider are the athlete’s age, sport, position, time during the season, and importance of the event or competition.

Knowing the exact diagnosis is important

We have to start the decision process with the diagnosis. It’s not enough to just say “knee pain,” we need to be specific. One of the problems I have with certain health practitioners is that decisions about treatment and play are made without a specific diagnosis. See a qualified medical practitioner to get a diagnosis, and then using a combination of the other factors a skilled sports medicine specialist will advise in making a decision that allows for safe sports participation.

Understanding again that individual decisions need to be made between the player, parents, and physician, there are still a few general comments I can make. Many types of tendonitis can be managed with braces during play and ice/stretch/massage after a playing session. Most fractures and stress fractures will require holding the young athlete from play until healing is complete. All hamstring injuries get rehab until healed. Ligament injuries to the knee will generally not allow return to play until fully healed, but some ligament injuries around the ankle can allow play with a brace.

Everyone has a different response to pain

One person’s mild “ache” is another person’s “severe pain.” I usually recommend against playing if the young athlete tells me he or she needs medication like Advil or Motrin in order to play. To me that’s a sign that we need to get that injury properly healed. For many other injuries it is sometimes safe to continue playing, although performance might suffer.

Sometimes it is safe for the young athlete to play through some discomfort, but start with the exact diagnosis and get guidance from a sports medicine specialist for the proper decision.

(Dev K. Mishra is the creator of the SidelineSportsDoc.com injury management program for coaches. He is an orthopedic surgeon in private practice in Burlingame, Calif. He is a member of the team physician pool with the U.S. Soccer Federation and has served as team physician at the University of California, Berkeley. This article first appeared on SidelineSportsDoc.com.)



1 comment
  1. tim francis
    commented on: February 17, 2012 at 9:04 a.m.
    While this article makes good sense, I'm hesitent to send it to my team families. While caution is noted, it may not be clear or stong enough: The overall 'grey area' message may be mistaken as a false 'OK' to play, particularly if the injured player can not accurately tell the extent of injury. This may also be particularly dangerous for players who love to play so much that they don't take injuries seriously enough or can't control their compulsive urge to play despite pain.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Youth Soccer Insider
Revisiting ice after injury    
The acronym RICE -- which stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation -- has been around since ...
Champions: U.S. U-15 girls perfect in Orlando; U-18 boys lift Czech crown    
The USA outscored seven opponents 49-0 and won the Concacaf U-15 Girls Championship with a 2-0 ...
Reffing in Russia: Remembering History, 25 Years Later    
For a long time, I looked positively at the Soviet military cap and Moscow police cap ...
How about some hot sauce with that leg cramp?    
I'm pretty sure anyone who's ever played a sport has had a muscle cramp at some ...
U.S. Soccer names final 22 clubs to Girls Development Academy for total of 74    
U.S. Soccer has accepted an additional 22 clubs to the Girls Development Academy, which will kick ...
U.S. U-20s down New York Cosmos and Red Bulls II    
The U.S. U-20 men's national team, during a 10-day training camp in New Jersey, beat the ...
Q&A: U.S. U-20 coach Michelle French on country vs. college conflict    
Thirteen of the USA's 18-woman squad at the Olympic Games in Rio played in a U-20 ...
Bahrain eliminates U.S. U-19 men in game marred by brawl    
The U.S. U-19 men's national team, after having upset host Spain, was eliminated from the Sub-20 ...
Cal South clubs claim four US Youth Soccer national titles    
South California clubs won a pair of US Youth Soccer national titles last weekend in both ...
USA beats Spain at U-20 tournament in Valencia    
The U.S. U-19 men's national team upset host Spain, 1-0, at the Sub-20 l'Acudia COTIF tournament ...
>> Youth Soccer Insider Archives