Shoulders take a pounding in high school football

myfoxorlando.com—January 28, 2014

Football players and wrestlers are the high school athletes most prone to shoulder injuries, and they're more likely to injure their shoulders in competition than in practice, a new study shows.

The research, published in the February issue of Pediatrics, is thought to be the most comprehensive look at shoulder injuries to date in teen athletes.

Researchers say the study should help coaches and trainers identify settings where problems are most likely to occur. That way, they can begin to take steps to prevent serious shoulder injuries, which can have lasting and, in rare cases, career-ending consequences.

For the study, researchers used a national database to tally shoulder injuries to athletes participating in nine high school sports over seven seasons, from 2005 through 2012. Sports surveyed for the study included boys' football, wrestling and baseball; girls' volleyball and softball; and boys' and girls' soccer and basketball.

The good news is that shoulder injuries are relatively rare, although the shoulder is still the one of the most commonly injured joints.

An expert who was not involved in the research praised the study for giving doctors and parents a better idea of which competitors are most vulnerable.

"Studies like this really help to give numbers. You need a baseline before you can see if what you're doing to prevent injuries or treat injuries is working," said Dr. Joshua Dines, a sports medicine orthopedic surgeon at the Hospital for Special Surgery, in New York City.

"There's a lot of focus now on different training methods, more functional workouts," Dines said. "We theoretically know why these injuries occur, so then it's important to say, is that knowledge translating to decreasing these injuries occurring? We can't do that without these kinds of studies."

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