As field hockey gains popularity among Louisville and Southern Indiana teens, pediatric orthopedists are seeing more injuries.
Hand and wrist fractures from balls or sticks, knee and ankle sprains, overuse injuries such as tendinitis and serious internal knee ligament and muscle tears are becoming more common, according to Jennifer M. Brey, M.D., pediatric orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist with Norton Children’s Orthopedics of Louisville.
Don’t try to return too soon
Most players return to play with proper treatment, according to Dr. Brey. Before they do, she suggests they focus on strength and flexibility training. In addition, she recommends neuromuscular training, such as gaining strength in the quadriceps muscles and learning to land properly.
Norton Children’s Orthopedics of Louisville
Fellowship-trained orthopedists have the experience and expertise to treat the unique needs of growing bones and joints.
͞“Field hockey requires players to sprint and make sharp cuts and abrupt changes in direction. Unless players know how to land properly, those movements often can result in serious ankle and knee injuries,” she said.
Play other sports
Field hockey players should play other sports, too.
“I always remind players not to specialize in one sport,” Dr. Brey said. “That’s just as important as not ignoring pain or trying to return to competition too soon.”
Sacred Heart Academy’s Head Field Hockey Coach Eleanor Mitchell agrees.
“Field hockey is a strenuous sport that requires athletes to be in the best physical and mental condition possible to remain injury-free,” Mitchell said. “For some, that means resting, allowing injuries to fully heal or taking a mental break.”