Parents When kids hide pain

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Proud Parent
Oct 9, 2015
My daughter competed l8 this season and it went well, but her landings on floor seemed to get consistently worse as the season went on. She mentioned a bit of shin pain but really downplayed it, and I guess I should have just made an appointment when she was repeatedly using BioFreeze, but she kept insisting she was fine. After the season ended they were doing all soft landing and within a few weeks the pain was much better. She did ask to see a doctor bc she didn't want the pain to come back for l9, so we went in. X-rays showed she'd had a stress fracture in her left tibia, probably all season. We saw the doctor at about 6.5 weeks post season and she said it had healed on it's own but prescribed PT, soft landings for another 3 weeks, increased vitamin D and calcium and a follow up. I feel pretty bad that I missed seeing how serious this was- the doctor said she was lucky not to have fully fractured it and said she would have put her in a boot and shut her season down if we came in a couple months earlier. How do you impress on your kids the seriousness of not training through pain?? I feel like she was scared about the possibility of a full fracture but she was proud that she made it through the whole season so might stick with not speaking up again.
I started young with DD teaching her about "good" pain (i.e. your muscles are sore from conditioning, and that's ok as long as they start feeling better within a day or two) and bad pain (i.e. pain that is causing potentially serious harm or damage to the body). When she'd tell me something hurts, we'd talk about what it felt like and make a decision together about severity, usually setting a recheck point if an immediate medical visit isn't warranted (i.e. lets see how it feels tomorrow after school and make an appointment if it still hurts). We had a lot of discussions about how ignoring bad pain can mean a more severe injury and more time out of gym versus getting something taken care of right away.

Now, DD can tell me if she has something that needs to be looked at by a professional. She also knows when to stop because something feels like it might be bad pain when she's at gym (and she tells her coaches).

It took a lot of teaching and guided practice. In general, kids need to learn how to listen to their bodies for a myriad of things, injuries and pain among them.