Guest Post by:
Stephanie Davey, ATC
Certified Athletic Trainer
MUSC Sports Medicine

It’s that time of year again.  The transition between fall and winter sports is upon us.  Thousands of high school athletes will be trading in their cleats for court or mat shoes.  While, single sport specialization has reduced the number of multi sport athletes, there are still plenty of kids that need to balance the demands of multiple sports in a year.  While, high school athletes playing multiple sports is ultimately a good thing, special care needs to be taken to make the transition smooth.  Coaches and parents need to be aware of these demands and find a way to help their athletes cope.

First and foremost, the health and safety of the athlete is priority.  Any injuries that occurred during the fall sport should be 100% healed.  It doesn’t matter if the injury was a grade one ankle sprain or a concussion, the injury needs to be healed.  If this does not happen, the injury will either get worse or will lead to another injury else where in the chain.  Secondly, if the fall sport was a contact sport, the athlete should have enough time to get over any soreness or stiffness.  The timeline for that is dependent on each athlete and the position and minutes that they played during the fall season.  If an athlete isn’t allowed to be fully recovered after the fall season, there is a higher chance that they will be injured at some point during the fall season.  If they are having trouble getting over their fall injuries, contact your high school’s athletic trainer.

Mental health is just as important to the success of an athlete.  Playing sports while getting a high school education is a time consuming process for American teenagers.  They also apparently enjoy having a social life!  While all this teaches our high school student athletes to manage their time, it can be very stressful.   The athlete should be completely caught up in all their school work.  This will not only make the teachers happy, it will lower stress levels by having everything under control.  Also, it can help to prevent burnout  if an athlete can have a few days to themselves after school.

It’s hard to determine how much time off each student athlete will need between each sport.  Parents, coaches, athletic trainers and the student athlete all need to be on the same page when determining time off.  The health of each student athlete is always priority number one!