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Your Healthy Family: Physical therapy leads high school athlete to recovery and injury prevention

Posted at 2:08 PM, Apr 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-07 11:58:02-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — When a young athlete is seriously injured, it's often their first time going through any kind of physical therapy to get them back on track and back in the game.

Hannah Dove is a senior at Lewis Palmer High School. She's officially signed to play Lacrosse at Butler University next year. Hanna’s athletic journey took a turn her junior year during the basketball season when she dislocated her knee.

Hannah was grateful the injury wasn’t worse, but says, “This is definitely the most serious injury I've had. It was the first time I've ever been out a couple of games, let alone the rest of the basketball season.”

Beau Smith is a certified strength and conditioning specialist, and the Director of Sports Performance at the Colorado Center for Orthopedic Excellence in Colorado Springs and explains Hannah’s experience is common. “If you look at youth age school kids, they may take P.E. or play sports, or participate in organized practices and games, their training is generally, ‘Go run, kick the ball, pass the ball, or shoot the ball.”

Beau says the idea of specific strength training to improve performance and prevent injury doesn't usually come up, like in Hanna’s case until they are injured. “Hannah would show up for practice, she would work hard, she would do all the regular conditioning, she would be a leader and a voice on the team, but she never had to be guided into more of off the court or off the field stuff.”

Hannah says she knows now, that while she is a talented athlete who developed strengths and skills at the sports she played, “I was super weak (physically) and I had no idea. I had this idea that I was strong and that wasn’t the case and that's why I got injured.”

When Hannah began rehabbing her dislocated knee, in so many ways she says it opened up a whole new world to her athletic endeavors. “If I had previously strengthened (my lower body) it, I probably would not have gotten injured. That's why now, I’m at a decreased risk of injuring it (my knee) again because I have strengthened all those muscles around it, and other parts of my body over the last year or so.”

In our next story, we’ll tell you more about the Return to Sport program at the Colorado Center for Orthopaedic Excellence and how it can help a wide range of other people, from student-athletes, to elite athletes and even recreational athletes, or those who may work in a physically demanding job.

The Colorado Center for Orthopaedic Excellence is a proud sponsor of Your Healthy Family