Brookwood Baptist Health Blog

Stories and tips for a healthy lifestyle


Oct 3, 2015
Stay Well. Play Hard

Are you ready for football season? With the start of college football around the corner and high school and youth games already gearing up, the South’s favorite time of year is underway.

In fact, fall is prime-time for lots of sports – and sports injuries. “As school restarts and fall sports begin, most sports injuries involve football and volleyball,” says Dr. Mike Patterson, sports injury and orthopedic specialist at Shelby Baptist Medical Center. We sat down with Dr. Patterson to learn more about common sports injuries, and how to avoid them.

So why does football so often lead to injuries? Football season in general has the most injuries due to the number of participants, the speed and size of the athletes involved, and the complexity of the training and playing situations. Many of the injuries we see because of football are hand and forearm fractures, Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Tears and other knee injuries, ankle sprains and concussions.

What makes sports injuries different? Sports injuries encompass a wide array of injuries primarily involving the musculoskeletal system. Although some of the same injuries occur in the non-athlete population, most sports injuries involve highly-motivated athletes trying to compete in athletic competition.  Common complaints include ligamentous injuries to the knee and shoulder, overuse injuries to multiple joints (shoulder, elbow, knee and ankle) and muscle strains.

What other injuries do you see this time of year? Volleyball is also a common sport for injuries, consisting mainly of shoulder injuries from striking and hitting, as well as knee injuries. We also see cheerleading injuries, which has the highest percentage of severe head and neck injuries of any sport.

What’s the best way to avoid sports injuries? It begins with proper off-season conditioning and strengthening, along with proper nutrition and hydration. Having coaches devoted to assisting in that conditioning is essential to lowering the incidence of sports injuries. Also, keep in mind you don’t have to be playing in a regulated game to get hurt. We see many patients get hurt when playing a quick game with their buddies. These “weekend warriors,” as we call them, may not have the time to get physically ready to compete and as a result, put themselves at risk for sustaining an injury. Proper stretching, acclimation to current weather conditions and proper warm up are important to preventing injuries.

What about re-injury? What should we know there? Re-injury is uncommon. With proper treatment and rehab, most injuries do not reoccur. However, in repetitive overuse athletes (throwers and runners), we do see recurrent symptoms. Proper mechanics, braces, inserts and proper diagnosis is essential to limit the chance of re-injury.

Anything else? Sports participation and athletics have a large impact on the lives of those who compete – whether youth level sports, high school, college or beyond. Our goal is to return athletes to his or her sport safely and as quickly as possible.  We strive to have a positive impact on the lives of athletes and their families as they address sports injury prevention and treatment. Stay well. Play hard.

To learn more about Dr. Mike Patterson, click here.