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Athletic trainers give insight on injuries

Chico State's head athletic trainer, Scott Barker, feels for abnormalities in first-year softball player Megan Bowley's knee. Photo credit: Christine Zuniga

Ankle Injuries

According to Chico State’s head athletic trainer, Scott Barker, ankle injuries are the most common type of injury that he and his staff see from every sport.

“With most of our sports, ankle joint sprains are probably the most common joint injury we see,” Barker said.

Barker said a trend in basketball shoes are making athletes more susceptible to ankle sprains.

“They are going [to] more low tops and lighter shoes, “ Barker said. “If the shoe is unstable in nature and doesn’t provide that structural support then you may be set up for an ankle sprain just by the type of shoes you select.”

A common scenario that occurs during these ankle sprains is athletes jumping up expecting to land on a flat surface but instead end up on a teammate or opponent’s foot.

Once an injury occurs, an athletic trainer will assess it to determine the severity of the injury.

Ankle sprains are graded in three degrees: first, second and third.

“A third degree ankle sprain is a complete rupture of the ligament,” Barker said. “Second degree is a partial tear of the ligament, and a first degree is an over-stretching of the ligament.”

Knee Injuries

One of the most common knee injuries is tearing the ACL ligament. Barker said the injury gets its reputation as being the worst knee injury mainly because of how long the recovery process is.

One way to lower the risk of tearing an ACL ligament is by going back to the basics, and teach athletes how to properly jump and land correctly.

“We need to teach athletes at a young age how to jump and land more efficiently,” Barker said, “with good fluxion in the knees and good alignment from ankles to knees to the hips.”

An interesting statistic about ACL injuries is that people are six times more likely to tear the ACL in a non-contact situation.

Stress Injuries

The third most common Chico State injury isn’t focused on one certain area of the body. Treating stress injuries are a large part of how athletic trainers spend their days.

Second-year graduate assistant athletic trainer Thomas Spock’s main job is dealing with the men’s soccer players’ injuries throughout the year but is involved with many other sports as well.

“Personally, I’ve seen more muscle strains and overuse type of injuries with the teams that I’m covering,” Spock said.

Inflammatory problems, tendinitis and shin splints are a few of the main overuse problems that don’t make the surgical report, but are a lot of what the athletic trainers deal with on a daily basis.

“The reality is there needs to be a good progression built into the repetitions,” Barker said. “If you don’t build that progression and prepare for the sport progressively, that’s where we see these overuse type problems.”

Jason Spies can be reached at [email protected] or @Jason_Spies on Twitter.

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