Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Youth Sports Injuries: Consider the Big Picture

When your kid gets an injury that sidelines him or her, do you look at the big picture? 
Do you talk toughness - playing through pain like Ripken and Gehrig? 
Or do you take a more cautious approach? 
When your kid is sidelined, does he or she understand the big picture?

On June 17th, my son hit a long line drive to right centerfield. (My wife captured the at-bat on her camera below). I watched the hard hit ball with delight. When I heard the ping of the bat, I was thinking double or triple easy. The fast centerfielder got a great jump on the ball, tracked the ball well and at the last split second reached as high as possible while running full speed to snatched the ball out of the air. I looked toward 2B to see my son's face, but he was not there. He barely made it to first base. I caught a glimpse of him as he limped toward the dugout. He found a team mom who is a trainer to stretch him out to relieve the pain. He was hoping that he could get back in the game. He never made it back in.

On June 18th, my son hit the waiting room at the orthopedic doctor and was diagnosed with a hip flexor strain. The combination of baseball and golf and growing led to the problem.

He has been on the disabled list since. He missed 4 games last weekend when the team played in a big local tournament. He missed a game played at Marge Schott Stadium on the University of Cincinnati. And it looks like he will miss a big tournament in Columbus this weekend. 

He has been going to physical therapy, taking his anti-inflammatory drugs, heating, icing and stretching as prescribed. The doctor said that he would be out 1 to 2 weeks. 

He is almost ready to come back, but we are being cautious for three reasons. We do not want him to come back early and re-injure the hip and

1) miss out on the Nations Baseball World Series in Florida. 
2) jeopardized tryouts for the high school golf team.
3) jeopardized tryouts the 2013 club baseball season. (There is a chance our team is going to breakup.)

At dinner the other night, we asked him what the physical therapist said about the timetable to get back on the field. He said with a big smile, "Another week, but I am going to give it a try tomorrow night." We said, "Really."

Still smiling, he said, "You guys are not looking at the short picture here. You are constantly looking at the big picture."

The Main Point

My son misses baseball and golf but he sees the big picture. If he returns too early and tears the hip flexor from the bone, he will be out a long, long time. He does not want to risk the Florida trip or the tryouts.

I am not as patient. I cannot wait for him to start playing again.


  1. Tread carefully. I know a kid who has been bothered off & on with a hip flexor strain for over a year. He's one of the top youth sprinters in the country.

    1. Thanks Clarence - I needed to hear that. My son seems fine now and we are anxious to get back to baseball but the physical therapist will not release him. It has been difficult hearing the updates about big wins in Columbus Ohio, while we are sitting home in Cincinnati. The Columbus Tourney ends on Tuesday - then the team has a week off before the Nations World Series in Florida. We will sit tight until then.

  2. Just about every athlete that gets hurt wants to know when they can play again. But it is so important to think long term. I know no athlete likes to miss games, but you have to remind them that no one game, no matter how big, is worth their long term health or potential athletic career.

  3. I think we all, including those that choose to play, understand and accept that; however the question is/was what were you doing to inform the players of this risk and how it could shape their lives?

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