News – Athletes feel pressure to play through injuries.

3 Feb

Walla Walla, WA – Being tough and playing with pain are part of sports.  These attributes often seperate the great athletes from the also rans.  The athlete’s internal drive and desire to succeed will allow them to push through a lot of pain, often self afflicted from a tough workout to get better.  But with that desire to succeed and improve comes more pressure to play through injury.  The great Vince Lombardi said those who work the hardest find it harder to quit.

Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington took a look at the pressure on today’s athletes in their student paper:

“If you’re hurt and it doesn’t incapacitate you, you are seen as a bit of a wimp if you don’t play through,” Matthaeus said.

“Everybody but the trainers want you to play through it,” said Keyes.

It is true that the training staff does not want athletes to continue playing with an injury. While John Eckel, the head athletic trainer, knows that athletes may feel like they would let their team down by sitting out, he stresses that they should not hesitate in visiting the training room.

“People should feel comfortable coming to us early so that we can prevent any complications,” Eckel said. “We don’t want to be viewed as a bad guy.”

ATs spend a great deal of time educating athletes about the nature of the injury, what is injured, what type of pain they will experience, etc.  We enjoy that aspect of the job because it allows us to empower the athlete with information and knowledge.  And as they say “knowledge is power.”  I always have athletes coming to me asking me to look at some area of pain they are having.  Stubbed fingers, bruises, sore muscles, etc. cause a great deal of pain and the athlete is worried about if that finger is broken or if that bruising is a sign of a major injury or if that sore muscle is sore or really strained.  Our job as an AT is not just do diagnose the injury, it is also to teach the athlete what to expect when they return to play.  We teach them what to watch for that is a bad sign and what pain they can simply monitor and play through.

A good AT knows the difference between pain and injury.  An athlete can often play through pain but often should sit an injury out.

Source

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