Armchair quarterbacking an injury?

Top fall sports injuries and how to handle them

Fall sports season means it’s sports injury season, too. Whether you’re a parent, coach or player, you’re probably seeing an increase in bumps, bruises and other minor injuries this time of year.

Here are the most common fall sports injuries and how to handle them.

Ankle, knee and wrist sprains

Follow the RICE approach:

  • Rest – Stay off of the injured joint. 
  • Ice – For the first 48 to 72 hours after the injury, or until swelling goes down, apply an ice pack for 10 to 20 minutes every one to two hours during the day. 
  • Compression – An elastic compression wrap or bandage will help decrease swelling and should be worn for the first 24 to 36 hours. A protective brace also can be worn on an injured joint that must bear weight, such as an ankle. 
  • Elevation – Prop the injured area on pillows above the level of the heart as often as possible.

Quadriceps or hamstring strains

Mild strains to these large muscles in the upper leg usually heal within 10 days. Moderate strains can take up to six weeks, and severe strains require three months or longer for recovery. The muscle will need to be rested for as long as symptoms persist and until leg strength and range of motion returns.

Tips for making a comeback after injury:

  • Go through each movement required in your sport without pain before resuming normal training and competition. 
  • Use heat on the area before an exercise session. 
  • If running is part of your training, don’t run at full speed. 
  • Avoid plays or moves with sudden stops until there are no symptoms and you have regained full strength and range of motion. 
  • Cross-train in sports that don’t place a heavy demand on the quadriceps or hamstrings, such as upper body strength training, easy lap swimming, light ball tossing, etc.). 
  • Apply ice packs for 15 to 20 minutes after working out.


Symptoms may include headache, confusion, lack of coordination, memory loss, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, ringing in the ears, sleepiness and excessive fatigue. Go to the emergency department right away if you have any of the following signs after a bump, blow or jolt to the head or body:

  • Headache that gets worse and does not go away 
  • Weakness, numbness or decreased coordination 
  • Repeated vomiting or nausea 
  • Slurred speech

Don’t armchair quarterback an injury. Leave it to the pros.

If you or your high school athlete experiences an injury you’re concerned about, don’t wait until Monday to see a physician. Saturday Sports Injury Clinics are available on the Norton Brownsboro Hospital campus every Saturday through Nov. 5, 2016. Register between 8 and 9 a.m.

Visit for details.

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