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Preventing Sports Injuries And Helping Young Athletes Put Mental Health First

simone biles
Ashley Landis/AP
Simone Biles, of the United States, watches gymnasts perform July 27, 2021, after she exited the team final at the 2020 Summer Olympics, in Tokyo.

Many young athletes are preparing for the fall sports season as they head back to school. The pandemic has put limitations on how athletes train, and that means they may not be as prepared for the upcoming season when it comes to conditioning. That could lead to more injuries.

“Training for everyone from the weekend warrior up to the professional athlete has been interrupted,” says Brian Grawe, MD, associate professor of orthopaedic surgery in UC's College of Medicine and UC Health sports medicine physician. “They have not been able to go to the gyms regularly, and competition will start as if nothing has ever changed. It will be interesting to see if we have an increased injury risk associated with acute injury or an increased injury associated with chronic overuse of things associated with people not able to condition their bodies as they really want to.”

As young athletes get back into the game, it's just as important to pay close attention to their mental health. The summer Olympic Games just wrapped and we saw the pressure that it put on the world's top athletes. Gymnast Simone Biles took bronze on the balance beam after withdrawing from the team and individual all-around finals citing a case of the "twisties" and feeling an overwhelming pressure to perform.

How do we talk to young athletes about the stress of competition and how do we help them both prevent injuries and avoid feeling the pressure to compete on an injury?

Joining Cincinnati Edition to discuss the pressures facing young athletes are University of Cincinnati College of Medicine Associate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery and UC Health Sports Medicine Physician Brian Grawe, MD; and Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery Bret Betz, MD.

Listen to Cincinnati Edition live at noon M-F. Audio for this segment will be uploaded after 4 p.m. ET.

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