Softball is a rough sport. It’s hard on the body, and as more and more of us are finding ourselves playing year round – there are no doubt a ton of injuries going around.
Our daughter, a pitcher – who was at peak performance suffered an untimely sport ending arm injury the spring before her senior year in high school, AFTER receiving several offers from colleges, that left her unable to pitch. Or at least pitch well. She pushed herself through it, completely determined and head strong and obviously so disappointed that after years of hard work, THIS was the time she would get hurt, and ended up hurting herself more by continuing to attempt to throw through the pain. It was dumb on her part.
A great friend of ours, with a an incredible player who was being sought after by many colleges- tore her ACL during the very last soccer game of high school season – which left her out of play for a year. Luckily, she was just going into her sophomore year at the time, so she had time to heal. And she has. But not without surgery, a ton of hard work, therapy sessions and determination and LISteNING TO WHAT THE DOCTORS HAD TO SAY ABOUT her injury.
So….We get a lot of questions about sore arms, torn tendons, broken ankles, wrists, back problems, foot problems etc. And parents always ask for 1) What is the quickest way to get her to heal. And 2) Should she just play through the pain?
We get it. Your kid loves sports, and you don’t want to take her out of the game for an injury, especially if you suspect its minor. We also get a lot of questions that essentially are full of worry and panic that OMG if their daughter DOESN’t PLAY through the pain, she will lose her spot on the team and the coach will be mad and blah blah blah blah.
So. Here is THE thing.
USE YOUR HEADS PEOPLE! First of all recognize that soreness and injury are two different things. That being said, your 11 year old who is chronically sore or suffering from something exasperated by sports is being sent a message…the pain is her body SCREAMING OUT THAT SHE NEEDS TIME TO REST AND HEAL!
If your 13 year old has a broken arm, then the let the arm heal for God’s sake! If her feet are swelling, or her knees are hurting her, or her arm is killing her – she needs a darn break.
These are children. And they are growing children – and they have all sorts of shifting growth plates and weird physiological things going on in their young bodies. If you continue to push too hard, push too much – you are setting your kid up for some real injuries down the road.
(FACT: Nearly 80% of all college pitchers have some sort of arm issues stemming from over use when they were young.)
Look, we get that your kid loves to play her sports. But she has parents for a reason. And if she is hurt or injured then she needs to stop. And you need to make her stop. You need to cast away all your ridiculous worries that she will lose her starting catching spot on her 12U travel team, and do what is best for her. Because what is most important here?
She can still attend games. Attend practices. In fact, this shows character. But you don’t need to hide pain and suffering from a coach out of some sort of inflated fear that the world will come crashing to an end and her life will be over because she is injured.
And if your daughter is unhappy and complaining and whining and thinks you are the worst parent ever for making her sit out – WHO THE HECK CARES? That’s why you are A PARENT, an ADULT and this is exactly why it is your job to decide what is best for her long term.
And another thing.
We can honestly assess that around 80% of you take your kids training pretty seriously, but don’t take their overall health and wellbeing as seriously. We see very little stretching, not enough strength training and conditioning. We see what is being eaten at tournaments and nutrition is easily overlooked.
While we see lots of pitching and hitting lessons and field work and lessons – we see not enough care being taken to protect the growing bodies that are doing these workouts. Its irresponsible.
So our honest, unfiltered advice. Get a GRIP! If your kid is in pain, or is injured, or is hurt – stop pushing so hard for them to make a return to the field, or to avoid sitting out completely. You are doing more harm than good, and this decision is not coming from a place of good sense. (Which YOU are supposed to have as a parental person) Listen to what the doctor says. Realize that pain and discomfort, swelling and injury are SIGNS our bodies gives us to take a break.
So what, your kid is frustrated and disappointed? That’s just part of life. Oh well…. We promise they WILL get over it. ANd Lord knows, we cannot protect them from every single thing in this world that may cause them frustration.
The long term health and wellbeing of their body is more important than a summer season of softball, or getting to start on the high school team. If you come across a coach that wants your ‘injured’ player to play anyways and play through the pain – chances are they are not qualified to be coaching a sport.
And don’t ask us what we think hoping to get a pass, or advice that goes along with what you want to hear. Because we won’t do it. If your kid is hurting or injured, then she needs to take a break. Do what the doctor says. And focus on some other aspects of mechanics, exercise and nutrition that will help her avoid future injuries. End of discussion.