Skip Navigation
request an appointment my chart notification lp musc-logo-white-01 facebook twitter youtube blog find a provider circle arrow
MUSC mobile menu

MUSC Health Blog

Keyword: high-school-football

By Marty Travis, MS, ATC
Athletic Trainer
MUSC Health Sports Medicine

It’s fall football season. As usual, coaches, players, and parents are asking about prophylactic knee braces as soon as the first knee injury occurs. There is just no clear answer. Some studies have shown some decrease of MCL injuries on teams using the braces, while other studies have actually shown an increase of MCL injuries when braces are used. Still other studies have shown no significant changes on teams using the braces.

I used to be an advocate of braces early in my career during the 1980s and 1990s, not because of research studies but because the late, great Dr. Bob McDavid was one of my early mentors. He had one of the first patents for prophylactic lateral knee braces/guards. He also had patented many other types of sports medicine equipment. The college football teams that I covered all provided McDavid knee guards to defensive and offensive linemen. The teams had fairly low rate of MCL injuries to the linemen, but this was just a casual observation. I did not conduct any official research studies.

Today I discuss the facts with coaches, parents, and players and let them develop their own feelings on braces. Skill players were always against using braces because they thought they slowed them down, but big linemen seem to lean toward using braces. A big factor in determining whether or not to use braces is financial. The cost can range from $50 for an off-the-shelf brace from a sporting goods shop to $900 for a custom-fitted brace.

Right now I am neutral about using the prophylactic braces for a healthy knee. I recommend parents and athletes read the position statement by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons on knee bracing to help them decide.

By Stephanie Davey, MEd, ATC, PES
Athletic Trainer
MUSC Health Sports Medicine

The middle of July means that high school football is just a couple of weeks away. In South Carolina, most of our high schools start around July 27th. If your son is planning to play football and go through preseason, there are a few things they need to focus on off the field in order to be safe and productive on the field.

Hopefully, your son has already been working on his conditioning. This will go a long way to him being able to acclimate to the South Carolina heat. South Carolina High School League mandates an acclimatization practice plans that all high schools must follow. If you have questions about that plan you can find it on the South Carolina High School League website

Hydration is always the first thing that comes to mind when we think of preseason football. Your son must be hydrated prior to reporting to practice each day. There is no way to catch up if they are already dehydrated when they arrive. Two ways to tell if they are hydrated is monitoring the color and volume of their urine and making sure they weigh in and out of practices. Their urine should be a light yellow color and high in volume before they go to bed each night. Secondly, they should be weighing in prior to practice and out after practice. They can do this at home or with their athletic trainer. For every pound that they lost during practice, they need to drink 20-24 oz of fluid. If they do not regain the weight they’ve lost during the previous practice, they may need to be held out of practice until they’ve rehydrated. To rehydrate, they should consume water and a sports drink. Soda and beverages with a high caffeine content should be avoided. Energy drinks should not be consumed at all.

The next thing to focus on is proper nutrition. The body is just like a car, the better fuel you put in it the better it performs. Your son needs quality food that is high in nutrition volume with a good balance of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Your son needs 40 – 50 kcals/kg of body weight. They should consume 4-8g/kg of carbohydrates and 2-3 g/kg of proteins.  Foods to focus on are lean meats, eggs, nut butters, protein shakes, pastas, and fruits and vegetables. Fruit and vegetables with a high water content can also help to hydrate. Your son needs to eat prior to practice, even if it is an early morning practice. It shouldn’t be a big heavy meal, but they need to have some source of energy before practice.

The last thing to focus on is sleep. The National Institute of Health recommends that high school athletes get an average of 9-10 hours of sleep each night.  Proper sleeping habits with allow your son’s body the time it needs to recover after each practice.  It allows him to stay focused and think clearly during practice. Better recovery and better focus leads to better performance.

Taking these steps will go a long way towards protecting your son during preseason football, ensuring that he has a fun, productive and safe football season.


Share Your Story

Subscribe to the Blog