Doctor: high school sports injuries on the rise

By: Aaron Dimick Email
By: Aaron Dimick Email

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- It’s still summer, but fall sports are already in full practice mode.

With the kick off of the high school football season just days away, Emergency Room doctors say they tend to see more visits from young athletes this time of year.

Injuries are part of any sport. But there are thing your kids can do to stay healthy.

A local sports medicine doctor says most sports injuries can be avoided with caution and conditioning.

“This time of year we see more injuries especially as you get into late August into mid-September,” said sports medicine physician Dr. Doug Auleta.

Dr. Auleta said every sports season; he’s seeing more athletes coming into Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire.

“More of a national trend as kids are getting into year-round sports and higher levels of competition and more into their careers,” Dr. Auleta said.

He said there’s increased pressure on teen athletes.

“I think there is a lot of enthusiasm to get kids as good as they can and as fast as they can. I think that can overshadow the fact that they can sustain minor or major injuries,” Dr. Auleta said.

Many injuries can be avoided with pre-season conditioning, hydration and stretching, the physician said.

“Not just jump from doing very little to a whole lot in a week’s period. Your muscles, your joints, bones have to be adjusted and the conditioning helps to minimize your chance of injury,” Dr. Auleta said.

It’s a lesson Memorial High School Old Abes running back Kelly O’Leary learned the hard way.
“I got a high ankle sprain this summer at a football camp and that put me back. I couldn't even start the beginning of two a days,” O’Leary said.

The football player said he hopes to avoid injuries in the future using ankle braces and doing pre-season conditioning.

“We’ve had a lot of kids come out to the strength and conditioning club at Memorial four days a week so that helps getting stronger so you won't get any pulled muscles or anything like that,” O’Leary said.

Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire said every Saturday morning from 9-10 a.m. from August 20 to October 15; it will host a “Saturday Morning Sports Medicine Clinic” for athletes to get walk in treatment.

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