When Recovery Has to Take Priority

By Jon Buzby | Posted 2/15/2019

Sports injuries are a part of life regardless of the age of your child or the level of sport in which they compete. During the younger years, seeking advice from team athletic trainers isn’t usually an option.

Fortunately, it’s often obvious whether or not a doctor’s visit is necessary. When it’s not, even though most parents don’t have medical or athletic training degrees, how they respond can alter the recovery process by using “parenting common sense.”

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My 12-year-old son has been battling a sprained ankle for the past few weeks. It hasn’t bothered him enough to miss games, but we have had to make a few decisions about skipping practice. Fortunately, his coaches have supported how we’ve managed his nagging injury.

When he originally rolled his ankle in the third quarter of a game, he got checked out but decided to keep playing. However, as I expected, the pain increased on the car ride home and some swelling occurred as soon as he unlaced his sneaker.

We went through the normal sprained ankle routine of ice, compression and elevation, and then, with practice the next night, we had to decide about the ‘rest’ part of the “RICE” acronym. He spent the next two days going through the entire routine, skipping one practice all together and “walking through” another.

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He played Friday night and early Saturday morning without any issues and he iced down after each game even though there was no pain or swelling present. We then shut him down until Sunday’s noon game, which included much to his disappointment not going to a birthday party at a trampoline park.  

Sunday’s game came and went without pain or soreness and so, as parents, we cleared him for all activities the following week.

As parents, we may not have medical degrees, but in some instances, it only takes our common sense to help our children recovery quickly.

Jon Buzby has been involved in and writing about youth sports for the past 30 years with perspectives as a parent, coach and board member. Jon is an award-winning writer and his latest book, “Coaching Kids Made Easier,” is available on Amazon. Send comments or future blog topics you'd like to see to JonBuzby@hotmail.com and follow him @YouthSportsBuzz on Twitter.