Students in Florida and across the nation are settling into the new school year. For many, this includes a role on school or community-based sports teams. Sports are a terrific part of many young lives, teaching teamwork, fostering discipline, and providing a fun source of exercise in an increasingly sedentary society. Still, as news outlets have begun to report with increasing frequency, sports can lead to serious injury. Our Panama City sports injury lawyer believes this is due to both an increase in publicity and also an increase in the number and severity of injuries.
Fortunately, as The News Herald reports, some Bay County athletes have added protection thanks to a partnership with Gulf County Medical Center ("GCMC"). GCMC provides all public high schools in the county with certified athletic trainers. According to Beth Wilkes, the director of rehabilitation, GCMC started the program when budget concerns led schools to cut their own trainer services. Wilkes reported that they recently added Gulf Coast State College to the roster of schools served by the program. Trainers also serve at some community sports events, such as a recent rugby tournament held at Panama City Beach's Frank Brown Park.
Ray Morris, GCMC's sports medicine coordinator, notes that the high school program helps treat and prevent sports injuries. Trainers are generally present at all football games, whether home or away, but usually only cover home and playoff games in other sports. The trainers also visit district high schools every day during afterschool hours to work with coaches and develop programs that prepare the athletes to play and compete safely.
In addition to general conditioning programs, the trainers can spot an injury trend and then work with the coaching staff to adjust the program. Morris noticed a number of shoulder injuries in members of the swim team and football team at Mosley High School. He then worked with the coach of each team to develop specific exercises aimed at stopping the injury trend. Morris also recommends parents ensure that young athletes are well-rounded, warning against playing the same sport all year long, something pros don't even do because using the same muscles over and over is dangerous. Recovery and conditioning are important elements of any athletic program.
GCMC trainers also treat certain minor injuries, providing some rehabilitation services. These rehab sessions typically occur three times a week for about an hour per session, although some athletes attend daily and/or longer sessions if needed. Rehab services help keep student athletes from missing class in order to travel elsewhere for such treatment.
Many young athletes encounter an occasional bump or bruise, but youth sports injuries can also be very serious. Fractures, torn ligaments, concussions, and severe heat-related illnesses are just a few examples of real risks faced by all athletes, no matter their age. Some injuries can be life-altering, or in rarer cases, fatal. While football injuries are often the most highly publicized, injuries occur in other sports, including soccer, gymnastics, lacrosse, and baseball. Most reports suggest more injuries actually occur in practice than during competition.
In some cases, a lawsuit may be appropriate following a Panama City youth sports injury. Claims may involve faulty equipment, negligent supervision, or even premises liability when a field or other venue is poorly maintained. Please call if we can help you pursue your own rights or those of your injured child.
For further information on youth sports injuries, see the National Center for Sports Safety site and MomsTeam's “Ten Things to Look for in High School Sports Safety.”