Ways to prevent injuries for young athletes

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB) - Spring sports are underway like baseball, softball and soon spring football scrimmages, but there's also more of a chance for sports injuries. As an athlete, you know injuries can happen, but you hope they never do.

According to Dr. Robert Dickey some of the most common aren't severe.

"Sprains strains and contusions. Sprains would be when somebody for example turns their ankle and gets a sprained ankle. The ligaments tear or injure.  Strains are more muscles and tendons, tendonitis, overuse type injuries.  Contusions are basically when you get hit either by another person or you fall down and get hit," Dr. Dickey said.

How does an athlete know when it's something more than just aches and soreness?

"If it's not getting better despite you trying to work through it then it probably needs to be looked at," Dr, Dickey said.

One Hardin Simmons University football stand out, Alex Bell knows the pain of injuries all too well.

"Freshman year I tore my PCL towards the end of the season, continued to play, finished that out.  Sophomore year there's always something wrong with my hamstrings.  Junior year I played the entire season with a stress fracture in my left leg," Bell said.

In the third game of his senior year... Bell suffered an injury that would end his career.

"Glory season, I tore my ACL the third game against Howard Payne," Bell said.

It's something a competitor and team player like Bell never thought would happen.

"Especially coming off the year I had junior year, I was expecting so much of myself.  People were expecting me to do so much and then just like that it's gone. Honestly I was more upset about knowing that I kind of failed my team," Bell said.

Now that his career as a football player is over, it's time to hang up his cleats and move on.

"If I'm going to go play football it's going to be some old man flag football for me in my days that's for me right there," Bell said.

Rehab and staying in shape is still a part of the process because you can take the player out of the game but you can't take the game out of the player

"Getting back in the weight room, lifting squatting, doing some light running, light jogging stuff so that's kind of where I'm at right now," Bell said.

While some injuries can't be prevented, Dr. Dickey said a lot of injuries come from overuse. Which can be prevented. Now that athletes are entering spring season and getting back into shape, Dr. Dickey said to take it slow and of course stretch.

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