At Park North Physical Therapy, we're passionate about helping young athletes reach their full potential. Yet, the pressure to perform can lead to pushing through pain, risking lasting injuries. Dr. Sam Morjaria, owner of Park North Physical therapy in Harlem and Morningside Heights, explains the unique challenges young athletes face and how we guide them on the path to recovery.
The Lure of Success and the Pressure to Play
Images of young sports stars earning millions can paint a distorted picture of athletic reality. Morjaria notes,
“Research shows 44 NBA players will make $30[million]+ in 2023 versus the 36 CEOs that made $30[million] in 2022.”
Information like this can’t help but make a stunning impression on young students who love sports. “It resonates especially if their talent at, say, soccer, gymnastics, basketball, or baseball has been acknowledged by coaches at school,” Morjaria explains.
This, coupled with pressure from parents, can lead young athletes to downplay pain and play through injuries out of fear of jeopardizing a future college scholarship or career. Morjaria adds,
“Kids are taught by their coaches to be good teammates. Kids can feel [that] by not playing; they are letting their teammates down and thus push through injuries.”
Unintended Consequences for Ignoring Pain
Unfortunately, ignoring pain can have serious consequences. Solo training, especially improper weightlifting, can cause injuries that could have been prevented with proper guidance. Morjaria emphasizes the importance of learning proper form early on,
“Bad habits begin when adolescents start poor weight lifting. Guidance is needed before starting weight training. Adolescents shouldn’t just start using any machine they have access to. They need to know what muscles they are working and why.”
It’s essential that young athletes speak to a physical therapist before their pain symptoms lead to long term damage. Morjaria says that parents should closely monitor their young athlete’s symptoms using this simple guide:
“Ask them daily, ‘How much pain were you in today from a grade of 0 to 10? 0 being no pain and ten being absolutely excruciating where I need to go to the ER now!’ Don’t give them too much time to think about it. The first response is usually the correct one. Keep a log of the pain level. If it goes consistently down, e.g. last week it was a 6, yesterday a 4, and today a 3, it generally means their natural healing process is taking course and they will probably be fine. If the pain level gets worse or is erratic (one day a 7, then a 5, it should be looked at. Anything over a 5 out of 10 should be watched closely.”
Reach Out to Park North Physical Therapy in Upper Manhattan for Athletic Recovery
While young people have an amazing ability to recover from injuries, it’s not always the case. Injuries that last more than two weeks need to be addressed. At Park North, we understand the challenges young athletes face. At your child’s first visit you can expect:
- Compassionate care: We address physical needs while acknowledging the emotional toll injuries can take. We understand that injuries can impact a young person's identity and dreams.
- Expert evaluation: We accurately diagnose the cause of pain and create personalized treatment plans. We recognize that pain is sometimes an indication of another problem or dysfunction that has to be treated.
- Communication and education: We empower both athletes and their families with knowledge about proper training and injury prevention. By opening the lines of communication, athletes can feel confident about voicing their concerns.
At Park North Physical Therapy, we're dedicated to helping young athletes get back in the game while prioritizing their long-term health and well-being. Book your first appointment here or call us at 212-222-6525 and let us be your partner in achieving your athletic goals, safely and sustainably.