I see a lot of young, injured athletes. I love their energy, their desire, their work ethic, and their commitment. It is the best part of my job. I obviously don’t like to see them injured, but they are a joy to work with. And watching them return to competition is amazing.
Almost every young athlete comes into my clinic with their parents, at least initially. Almost every parent makes a point to mention they are not one of the “crazy” parents. “We just want our child to get better.” I usually start the clock. A timer on how long it will eventually take for them to ask, “but, when can he/she play again?” Sometimes its 5 minutes. Sometimes it’s the end of the session. Sometimes it goes all the way to session #2. But it usually happens. They ask the question more than the athlete asks the question.
They want to know about the next camp, the next conditioning, the next showcase, or the next travel tournament. They often make themselves feel better by saying they just want their child’s injury to heal, but the irrational will sneak out. They don’t want Johnny or Sally to miss the next “opportunity.”
I understand. I want the athletes back on the field as soon as possible too. My job is to get people to do things again, not hold them out of activities. Again, I love when an athlete returns to competition.
My advice: the cream will always rise. If the athlete is good enough, “they” will find them. Conversely, if the athlete is injured or not fully rehabilitated, they will not be at their best and the performance will suffer. Many parents (sometimes coaches) even want to rush an athlete back after a surgical repair so they can showcase their skills. Well, a re-rupture is not going to push you to the top of a varsity or college coach’s player list!!!
Short term patience to allow full rehab with full strength, full motion, and no pain will pay long term benefits. Again, full strength, full motion, and NO pain for return to play. These are our kids. There is nothing more important and we need to protect them (often from themselves if they push too hard).
Call me with any questions. These are difficult, multi-faceted decisions with rapidly changing variables. Kids often heal quickly. I will work with the parents, coaches, players, and others to get it right.
It takes time to heal……you can’t rush Mother Nature!!!
Kash Eagleton, DPT, SCS
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Board Certified Sports Physical Therapy Specialist