For Parents Are a lot of injuries a red flag?

Oopski

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It feels like there’s an abnormally high amount of injuries in our gym right now. My daughter being one of them. When do you worry that it’s the coaching/gym causing them vs just being a stroke of bad luck? Are there specific types of injuries that raise red flags? Our gym seems to really limit hard landings except during season, so not sure what is going on.

For example currently we’ve got a few broken fingers, toe, foot, wrist, a couple girls out with back strains, someone with a hip injury, 2-3 elbow issues, nagging knee pain etc. and those are just the ones I know about.
 

gymgal

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just a parent here but I would be most concerned if I were seeing a lot of the same overuse type injuries or injuries that were being ignored. Depending on the whole team size, at any given time you are going to have broken toes/fingers, several different sprains, etc. Be sure to account for injuries that occurred/aggrevated outside the gym too. I also found that injuries tended to come in groups. Like there would be weeks with no one injured and then all of a sudden you would have 5 different types of injuries.
 
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Pineapple_Lump

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It feels like there’s an abnormally high amount of injuries in our gym right now. My daughter being one of them. When do you worry that it’s the coaching/gym causing them vs just being a stroke of bad luck? Are there specific types of injuries that raise red flags? Our gym seems to really limit hard landings except during season, so not sure what is going on.

For example currently we’ve got a few broken fingers, toe, foot, wrist, a couple girls out with back strains, someone with a hip injury, 2-3 elbow issues, nagging knee pain etc. and those are just the ones I know about.

Your daughter is at a gym with high hours right? Maybe the extra summer hours are taking a toll on growing bodies that just are not getting sufficient rest?
 

rlm's mom

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Broken toes and fingers are not overuse injuries so I wouldn't be worried about that. If there were a lot of back strains, knee pains or wrist strains (can't remember the name of the condition) I would be more concerned. If you really think there's an issue and you think your daughter and others are being overworked I would discuss that politely with their coach. It could be they are not giving enough time for their gymnasts to heal so the injuries keep recurring. Of course if the coach is forcing them to train on those injuries that is a red flag.
Hope your DD heals soon!
 

Aussie_coach

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How old is the team? It is not unusual for girls to have a higher injury rate between 11-14 years of age, especially 12-13.

Girls at this age are hitting their major growth sport. Dealing with a new body and have temporary weaknesses as muscles and bones grow at a different rate.

Unfortunately in gymnastics it often coincides with the time hours increase and skill level increases.

How many hours a week do they train? How long are their sessions? What time of night? Back to back days?
 
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MuggleMom

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I'd keep an eye out for back and wrist injuries. I know we recently had several back issues and the gym is refocusing on conditioning to help be more preventative with that...so while I am keeping an eye on things its good to see them adjusting as well. I am less worried about toes and fingers that stuff just happens. Knees and feet can be a mixed bag they are a bit of overuse but its also just as much about growth spurts. I just talk to my kid alot about pain and what kind of pain and is it getting better or worse etc. I'm not scared to go to PT or the Chiropractor to see if there is anything I can be doing to prevent overuse stuff as well.

The other thing to look at is how the gym treats the injured kids, are they kind (dont ignore or berate hurt kids)? Do they give accommodations (alternate skills, good rehab conditioning etc), do they give ample time to come back? Do they follow Drs orders? If the answer to all these is yes thats a good sign as well.
 

Oopski

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I'd keep an eye out for back and wrist injuries. I know we recently had several back issues and the gym is refocusing on conditioning to help be more preventative with that...so while I am keeping an eye on things its good to see them adjusting as well. I am less worried about toes and fingers that stuff just happens. Knees and feet can be a mixed bag they are a bit of overuse but its also just as much about growth spurts.
We do have a couple back injuries right now which could be a little concerning, but otherwise you're probably right that the rest are just stuff that happens. Seems like we always have a group of girls dealing with Severs and Osgood while growing.

How old is the team? It is not unusual for girls to have a higher injury rate between 11-14 years of age, especially 12-13.
Most of the girls I can think of are right in that exact age range.

Your daughter is at a gym with high hours right? Maybe the extra summer hours are taking a toll on growing bodies that just are not getting sufficient rest?

We are high hours. 25 hours a week currently (~level 7, we don't know officially yet, but I can see what meets/level she is registered for in my USAG account. lol ). (she was more hours over summer) We are in a daytime program, evening group goes slightly less hours at 20-21, and it feels like more injuries in the day group, but those are the girls/moms I know and talk to so my perspective is skewed.

Coaches are good about following Dr.'s orders exactly, we have to bring a note, and they don't let them go back until they hear from the Dr. that they can. They will not go against a Dr. note, even if a parent were to come in and say their kid was good to go back to practice. They also seem really good about easing girls back into full training as to not-re-injure things. Letting them work alternate skills etc. isn't an issue.

However, my girl, and others seem scared to communicate with the coaches about whats going on if they are in pain. When my DD told her gym bff she was hurt again her friends first reaction was "oh no Coach XX is going to be mad". Which is maybe more concerning than the amount of injuries. I met with the head coach today to give him the latest Dr. note and they explained that she doesn't communicate at all what she can and can't do and any pain she's having. I flat out told them she's scared they will be mad or she will be in trouble, but not sure they "heard" me. I totally agree she needs to communicate with them and me on injuries and pain, she is notoriously bad at it. We've had two instances(over past couple years) where she had actual fractures and did full practices for 2-3 weeks before she let coaches or me know how bad she was hurting. So I hesitate to just blame coaches there, when she's not telling me either.
 

rlm's mom

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I would ask a few of her team-mates mothers if their daughters also seem afraid to talk up - to the coach and to their parents. It could be the coach has expressed annoyance over their injuries - may even be sarcastic - but the gymnasts thought he was mad... At least he won't let them train on injuries!
 
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ReluctantGymMom

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Some kids are injury prone, like mine. She has some loose ligaments in her ankles so she is forever rolling them by just.. walking off a mat. There are days where she looks like she’s just barely being held together lol.

However, it also depends on how the gym trains… do you work a lot of soft landings? Our last gym didn’t, and the vault coach one day decided everyone needed to vault with 7 springs from level 2 and up. Within 2-3 weeks, nearly all the Compulsories needed their ankles taped or wrapped. We did zero soft landings in any skill unless it was just brand new and being learned on a tumble track.
Our current gym is just now starting to move a pass or two to the floor instead of tumble track and rod (landing on a mat). We have some freak injuries, but not many overuse ones.
 
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MuggleMom

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When my DD told her gym bff she was hurt again her friends first reaction was "oh no Coach XX is going to be mad". Which is maybe more concerning than the amount of injuries. I met with the head coach today to give him the latest Dr. note and they explained that she doesn't communicate at all what she can and can't do and any pain she's having.
My DD has the same issue for us its not that the coaches are secretly mean my kid is just scared to talk to adults in general. It is something we work on daily. Also most of the kids in the group are hesitant to say something just in part because they are that people pleaser perfectionist personalty type that seems to be drawn to gymnastics in general. They dont want to rock the boat even if the coach wants to know if they are hurting.

I have found it helpful to have my kid frame it right to the coach. X Hurts so I cant do Y is there something else I can work on? So it doesn't sound like you are trying to get out of work or a specific skill. Or X Hurts can I only do 3 reps of vault then do conditioning or drills. The coaches really respond well to this because it shows the kid isn't just trying to "get out of doing something" I think coaches are trained to not like the word "can't" so if you are saying you can't do something (even if its for pain reasons) they start to get skeptical that its an avoidance thing. We practice what we are going to say to the coach in the car if something is bothering her so she is prepared and able to speak up. Her coach says that she is sharing a lot more with her this year so it seems to be working.

I would keep an eye on this but I don't think its an automatic red flag that coaches are secretly being harsh about injuries.
 

Oopski

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My DD has the same issue for us its not that the coaches are secretly mean my kid is just scared to talk to adults in general. It is something we work on daily. Also most of the kids in the group are hesitant to say something just in part because they are that people pleaser perfectionist personalty type that seems to be drawn to gymnastics in general. They dont want to rock the boat even if the coach wants to know if they are hurting.

I have found it helpful to have my kid frame it right to the coach. X Hurts so I cant do Y is there something else I can work on? So it doesn't sound like you are trying to get out of work or a specific skill. Or X Hurts can I only do 3 reps of vault then do conditioning or drills. The coaches really respond well to this because it shows the kid isn't just trying to "get out of doing something" I think coaches are trained to not like the word "can't" so if you are saying you can't do something (even if its for pain reasons) they start to get skeptical that its an avoidance thing. We practice what we are going to say to the coach in the car if something is bothering her so she is prepared and able to speak up. Her coach says that she is sharing a lot more with her this year so it seems to be working.

I would keep an eye on this but I don't think its an automatic red flag that coaches are secretly being harsh about injuries.
I've been thinking about this a lot, I think you pretty much nailed it. I don't think the coach is being mean, the kids are just afraid of disappointing them. I'm going to share your suggestions with my daughter on how to communicate and have her practice with me. Thank you!
 

ReluctantGymMom

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My DD has the same issue for us its not that the coaches are secretly mean my kid is just scared to talk to adults in general. It is something we work on daily. Also most of the kids in the group are hesitant to say something just in part because they are that people pleaser perfectionist personalty type that seems to be drawn to gymnastics in general. They dont want to rock the boat even if the coach wants to know if they are hurting.

I have found it helpful to have my kid frame it right to the coach. X Hurts so I cant do Y is there something else I can work on? So it doesn't sound like you are trying to get out of work or a specific skill. Or X Hurts can I only do 3 reps of vault then do conditioning or drills. The coaches really respond well to this because it shows the kid isn't just trying to "get out of doing something" I think coaches are trained to not like the word "can't" so if you are saying you can't do something (even if its for pain reasons) they start to get skeptical that its an avoidance thing. We practice what we are going to say to the coach in the car if something is bothering her so she is prepared and able to speak up. Her coach says that she is sharing a lot more with her this year so it seems to be working.

I would keep an eye on this but I don't think its an automatic red flag that coaches are secretly being harsh about injuries.
This is a good way to frame it! My daughter used to refuse mentioning she’d hurt herself but at some point in the last 6 months she decided on her own that she was going to ask if she could do run on the tumble track, then try 3 vaults, and tumble on rod floor if she felt like she could after the 3 vaults. It’s weirdly specific, but she rolls her ankles frequently enough that I guess she’s worked out how much she can land on it after. One of the coaches who doesn’t have them frequently is not a fan of this (ie why are you running on tumble track if you can run for vault) but she said she wanted to save her strength for an actual event, not running, and the head coach backed her up
 
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kitkat

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I think there are lots of things to consider when it comes to injuries and could they be prevented.
What was the child performing when injured. Could it have been prevented?
What is the conditioning like in the gym.
What level is the gymnast and are they ready for that skill.
Was there spotting or should there have been spotting.
In my experience most gymnast at a younger age are scared to speak up and say they are injured because they are afraid they won't believe them.
That is up to the coach to know each gymnast and their styles.
Is that gymnast a hypochondriac or do they never complain - so if injured they should take serious.
My daughter trained with a broken thumb once for 20 minutes before speaking up. Not sure why cause she was not a hypochondriac but was afraid they wouldn't believe her. Then another time a broken foot her coach asked her to do more tumbling. She tried one line and said sorry its too sore. Coach sent her to the tramp and then went to beam and my dd said its just too sore. The coach sarcastically said well if you cant push through you better call mommy. Xray showed it was broken. Not even an apology from the coach. This was a kid that never once complained about training. Her coach should have known better and not blanketed all kids.

So my point is - a good coach should know their kids...and as parents we should be comfortable with how injuries happen and ask questions.