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injuries at level 5

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margymmom

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My daughter moved to level 5 in January and has new coaches (prior to this she had one of the same coaches for 4 years!). It has been an adjustment for both of us, as we were very comfortable with the previous situation. Since January, she has had several minor injuries at practice. She came home with an ankle or knee taped up several times-she explained to me that it didn't hurt to practice with the tape. I explained why I thought taping was a bad idea and explained that she should call me in the future if she is unable to practice without support. I also mentioned this to one of her coaches. None of these injuries caused any pain on days subsequent to the injury. To be fair to the coaches, I think she liked having the tape, and she can be dramatic.

Last Friday she rolled her ankle coming out of a roundoff/backhandspring combination. It happened at the end of practice, and I found her sitting out (without tape). She went back to the gym on Monday (against my better judgment) and promised that she would not do any running/jumping/pounding. I told my daughter to call if she needed me to come early, and I talked with her coach about the injury (and thought we were on the same page).

My daughter couldn't put weight on her foot when I picked her up from practice and she is still hobbling with pain today. I found out that she was doing back tucks, among other things, at practice. My daughter did not tell her coach that her foot was hurting until the very end of practice, when her coach told her to do conditioning instead of vault. Although I haven't talked with her coach yet, I feel that her coach should have been more proactive in monitoring her activity level.

I will keep her home altogether until this injury clears completely, and it is clear I that I need to have another conversation with her coach. My question is about how other have handled similar issues. I can tell her coach what my expectations are, and I am confident that if that doesn't resolve the issue I can comfortably approach a gym owner. I do not want to micromanage or undermine her coach, but it concerns me that I cannot trust that she is safe and well-looked after when she is there. I see the older girls practicing with supports and/or casts on their arms and legs, so I know that there is a culture working out thru injuries.

Any thought or suggestions?
 

bogwoppit

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My DD has been injured many times at gym, it is a combination of scoliosis and pronation that makes her body poorly built to do gymnastics. She loves the sport. I do not allow her to train through pain, but she does wear supports at gym. So seeing supports in the gym does not mean they are training through pain.

I often arrive at gym to see someone with an ice pack on an ankle or toe. Things really do happen in gyms. If a child complains of pain, the coach should ask where it hurts, how it happened and how much it hurts.

I know for sure in our gym injuries and ice packs are contagious, especially in the 7-9 crowd, they all want an ice pack, when they really are fine.

Some kids on the other hand do not complain and it is very hard for a coach to notice if they are in pain.

My DD knows what to do, I am assuming your DD is not little, so you could tell her that she needs to speak up if she hurts herself and not let peer pressure carry her along.

It may also be your DD's age, when they begin the prepubescent growth spurt it can make them a bit clumsy and less aware of their bodies. Has she grown this year? It definitely a factor for my girl.

All of this is just ideas that might help you. It may be that none of these thoughts is the right one and indeed you do have coaches who are pushing too hard. Keep an eye on it, try to ask other parents about it, are other girls in your DD's group injured or is it just her. Are the girls doing enough conditioning to support the level of skills they are doing, weak bodies definitely injure more easily than a strong body.

With all injuries Rest Ice Compress Elevate, if it isn't better in a couple of days get it checked out. I am now an expert at this, sadly:(
 
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margymmom

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Thanks for your thoughts. She is 8 and very small, her growth spurts aren't too noticeable! She started TOPS in February, so while she is stronger than ever, maybe her body needs more rest. She trains three, 4 hour days and two 1.25 hr days (TOPS). Does that sound like too much? I keep expecting her to decide TOPS is to much for her, but instead she sees the way her strength is building and seems more committed to it each week.
 

bogwoppit

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15 hours does not sound like too much for level five, based on what other parents here say. TOPS usually gives a gymnast a good base of strength. She is also too young to be dealing with growth issues.

Keep your eye on the injuries, maybe it is a coaching issue. She is also too young to be an advocate in her own health issues. At eight I would not expect to see a lot of real injuries, that is more that the odd bump and scrape.

Maybe watching a few sessions to see if she is being spotted appropriately, or even doing skills alone that she doesn't seem ready for.

Good luck with this, it is worth being worried about, that's why we Moms are around!
 

kristilyn73

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Jan 17, 2008
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I agree with Bog, it appears that minor ankle tweaks are part of the game.

You mentioned that this is a new coach. As time goes on your DD's coach is going to know her as well as you do. Her coach is going to know if she is the type of kid that will push through an injury because they are afraid of being on restriction (my dd is like that). So when they see them limp or wince, they know that this really is something and maybe has been going on for a while. They may pull a gymnast out of practice if they know she tries to hide injuries.

If she is the type that likes the 'ice pack' remedy, they may want her to keep trying. We even have a few at my gym that say they have an injury even though they dont to try to 'get out' of a skill, conditioning etc..

I think you are right to be concerned, at this point you know you DD best.

Strength and Conditioning are the first step to preventing injuries. TOPS will help her a lot.
 
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BlairBob

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As a coach I really hate it when kids hide simple things like coming to practice sick or something is hurting or sore and I have to find out by observation. Especially as I will be getting frustrated by the effects of illness or ailment during practice. It also really frustrates me when a gymnast is not paying attention to their hydration or nutrition needs ( like not having a snack before coming to practice meaning they haven't eaten anything for 4 hours before practice ).

Part of it is a communication but kids will simply forget or try to hide such things for who knows whatever ( dumb reasons typically ).

Grr.
 

lannamavity

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Sep 13, 2007
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If this is just Level 5...you have a reason for concern.

We, personally, don't allow taping, braces, those Osgood-Schlater's bands, etc...during workout or competition, unless the injury is being treated by a doctor and it is understood that these aids are temporary. Athletes also don't miss workout due to injury. They come in for a modified workout. There is plenty to do no matter what the injury is. (Younger athletes may need to work out less hours while an injury heals).

If the injury has not been examined by a physician, then it's not a coaches' job to diagnose and treat an injury which lasts more than a day or two. It's not a gymnast's job to evaluate her own injury either.

Ankles are fragile, especially on little kids.

It sounds like there is more a "culture of drama" at the gym than anything else. Tape, braces and the like become symbols and excuses, and confuse young gymnasts.

The best thing to do is get the ankle looked at and bring a note from the doctor to the coach which outlines the injury. It's best to find a doctor who understands the sport, because the average doctor will say "stay off of it for two months" which is not "proactive".

You may as well shop around now. Good luck!
 

Aussie_coach

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We do tend to get two types of kids in the gym, you have the hide the pain types who will tell you nothing because they are afraid they will have to miss out on something they want to do and the more dramatic kids who love to be seen in tape and holding ice packs. As coaches we do learn to read each child and see what kind of reaction they tend to have. After a while you know instantly if a child is really hurt or sick or not without anyone having to say a word. You say your daughter is fairly new with the coach, this may still be developing.

Her hours are definatly not too high for her age and level, that is about the average. The idea of doing the extra TOPS hours actually will be likely to decrease her risk of injury. The more conditioning and strength work she does, the stronger she will be and the safer she will be.

It is also not a good idea to take her out of training completely if she is injured. If she is used to training 15 hours per week and then drops straight to nothing while injured, then returns to normal hours once she is healthy again she will be at serious risk of reinjury. It's best to have her still in the gym on a modified training program to maintain her conditioning.
 
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flippymonkeysmom

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In time coaches do get to know which girls are always 'injured' and which ones are really hurt when they say they are. Many of them hide injuries because they don't want to miss practice.

My dd does not say anything when she is hurting and it drives me crazy. A few months ago I went to pick her up and she was alternating putting ice on her elbow and doing handstand hops and vaulting. Other than periodically icing it, it wasn't slowing her down. The next morning she was doing her floor routine (with tumbling even though the coach said she could just do a dance through if it was hurting her too much) and I saw her face every time she moved her arm. I literally had to go out and take her off the floor and tell her we were going to urgent care. Her elbow was fractured.

That is what you have to watch out for with some of them. They have that determined temperament and will work through pain. As parents we need to stop them and get things checked out so they don't make a minor injury worse by continuing to work out on it.
 

charloadams

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Jan 26, 2008
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It is also not a good idea to take her out of training completely if she is injured. If she is used to training 15 hours per week and then drops straight to nothing while injured, then returns to normal hours once she is healthy again she will be at serious risk of reinjury. It's best to have her still in the gym on a modified training program to maintain her conditioning.
Oh my god. You should tell this to my coach. I've been out for about 2 months now. I have a wrist injury since september 2007. I use to go at gym but I mainly did nothing. I hated to do nothing. So I stopped. I think it's better that way. But I don't want to get hurt again when I come back!!! I also do 15 hours a week.
 

MoonKid

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Jun 26, 2007
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There are always things that can be done at gym to work around injuries.

I used to do 15 hour weeks every summer. A few years ago I hurt my wrist 2 weeks before the end of summer but I kept coming everyday anyways. My coach was aware of the injury and just gave me lots of conditioning to do (my abs got sooo strong). I also did a lot of beam and floor complex and leaps.
 

gym law mom

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Several concerns about your current situation. It really sounds like you don't trust the judgement of these new coaches regarding your dd's health and that may be due to having had a coach that it sounds like you loved for 4 yrs. I don't agree with telling your dd to call you about an injury. That puts her right in the middle between mom and the coach. I know many coaches don't like kids walking out to call mom/dad. Once one starts then others follow and the practices can turn into a revolving door. Also you're asking an 8yo to make a decision on how bad she is injured. At that age they simply don't know and she may very well pick up that you don't trust the coach and then she won't either. Same thing with keeping her home from gym until her ankle heals---to be perfectly honest that could be 2 weeks.

I have no problem with a coach taping my gymmie's ankle if she rolls it in practice, however I do expect the coach to come out and tell me what happened. Our gym does want notes from parents regarding an injury and what limitations the gymnast should have placed on them. Right now, my gymmie is fighting through heel pain related to growth and we have asked that she back off vault and tumble only on tumble trak for about 10 days. They have held her out of certain conditioning that stresses her heel. Yes, kids come to gym with ankle/knee braces etc., but all are recommended by a MD or physical therapist.

My best advice as a former RN is yes, do be concerned about injuries---they will happen in this sport. Keep an open line of communication with the coach. Ask when they feel a child should sit, they should tape an ankle etc. You can just word it as "we're still rather new etc........" If you still don't feel comfortable then stop and watch practice----are the girls acting dramatic(common at that age), are the coaches not paying attention to a girl who looks injured or ill? If you still don't feel comfortable with the situation, make an appointment to talk with the owner.
 
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