When a student athlete is injured on the field, the long-term impact can be devastating and that’s a trend Terry Lee Young, San Antonio inventor and athlete would like to see reversed.
Young, along with a legion of medical professionals, physical therapists, and coaches are devoting untold man hours in search of techniques and products that can keep athletic injuries in check. Their efforts are focused on everything from warm-up drills to innovative topical pain treatments and everything in between.
It’s a huge challenge that, if successful, can help student athletes stay away from pain and injury as they transition into their adult lives.
Youth Athletics In America
To get a handle on how big an issue athletic injuries are in the United States, you need to have a good understanding of just how many kids participate in organized athletics and the benefits they get from participation.
According to a recent study by the Minnesota Amateur Sports Commission, as many as 35 million young Americans are active on organized teams every year. That’s about 60% of all American boys and 55% of all American girls. In an age when obesity is a serious problem for people of all ages, those numbers are pretty impressive.
Beyond the obvious health benefits, participation in athletics has a number of fringe benefits that aren’t quite as obvious.
For example, at the high school level, girls who participate in sports are three times more likely to graduate than girls who don’t and 80% less likely to get pregnant during their school years.
Student athletes carry the benefits of participation well into their adult lives, too. That same study showed that a whopping 73% of all corporate executives were once student athletes.
The Impact of Injuries on Student Athletes
Given the benefits of athletics, it’s easy to see why Terry Lee Young and so many others are interested in getting athletes treated and back on the field as quickly as possible. They do, however, have a very big task in front them.
To say that injuries have a significant impact on young athletes is something of an understatement.
In a recent article in the Stanford Daily titled, “Destroyed but not defeated: bouncing back from injuries and losses,” Stanford soccer player Haley Robinson described how an injury that left her sitting on the bench transformed her life. “My world turned upside down. My priorities completely shifted, I was not a happy person and I almost transferred.”
For athletes like her, organized sports are the hub around which their entire social lives revolve. Not only did she miss out on time spent with her friends, she also noticed her ability to get motivated for school work and other activities had been sapped, too.
This dynamic sets up student athletes to rush along their rehabilitation efforts and, too often, to return to the field before they’re completely healed.
Injuries amongst student athletes are about as devastating as they are common. According to a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), as many as 2 million high school athletes are injured every year and about 500,000 of those require treatment by a doctor.
That same study also found that overuse accounts for as many as half of all sports related injuries amongst young people. In short, young athletes operate in an environment where minor injuries frequently go untreated.
Unfortunately, minor injuries won’t stay minor for long if they’re not treated in a quick and effective manner. That’s where innovators like Terry Lee Young come into the picture.
Treatment Options and Alternatives
Even when athletes do get treatment for their injuries, those treatments can sometimes be worse than the original problem, especially if they’re prescribed painkillers.
A recent article in the New York Times titled, “Prescription Painkillers Seen as Gateway to Heroin,” suggests that plenty of heroin addicts started out as regular people with legitimate injuries. These folks get hooked on painkillers like Vicodin and Oxycontin while in recovery, and switch over to street drugs when buying pills becomes too expensive or difficult.
One way to keep ahead of this scenario is by offering athletes non-addictive over-the-counter alternatives such as ICE Athletic as quickly after the initial injury as possible.
Terry Lee Young, San Antonio-based inventor of ICE Athletic and Plunge Bobber, describes his product as, “…an alternative to prescription narcotics for athletes suffering from achy muscles and joint pain associated with soft-tissue injuries, bruising sprains and strains.”
A product like ICE Athletic can be administered on the field by trainers or the athlete and doesn’t require any special training to apply. In fact, it can be applied so cleanly and efficiently that the person putting on won’t even have to wash their hands afterwards.
It should be noted that ICE Athletic, and other alternative therapies, are not a replacement for a doctor’s care when serious injuries occur. What they are is a tool that can be used to ease short-term trauma while the athlete takes a quick breather.
If used correctly, these kinds of tools will prevent the athlete from getting back on the field and making the injury worse than it has to be. (And in doing so, it may wind up preventing a string of events that make an on-field injury seem mild by comparison.)
With advocates like Terry Lee Young, San Antonio athletes stand a much better chance of getting to realize the many benefits of youth sports.