Our son is on the local high school golf team hoping to get spotted and picked up for a college team. Last season, he had a wrist injury that is still bothering him. The doctor has told us he needs surgery but he insists on putting this off until after the college scouts are gone. Should we intervene and insist on treatment now?
Many athletes at all levels from high school to professional players face the pressure to play when it might not be in their own best interests in the long run. High school athletes who have a chance at a scholarship opportunity or to play at the college level are not immune to these pressures.
Putting off treatment to repair soft tissue damage is referred to as deferred treatment. For some athletes and some sporting events, supporting or immobilizing the painful area with tape, splinting, or bracing is possible. Additional conservative (nonoperative) care utilizing nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), steroid injections, and/or physical therapy may be helpful as well.
The player can be encouraged by parents, coach, and surgeon to weigh the short-term and long-term risks and benefits of this approach (versus surgery) before making a final decision. The player's health should never be compromised by pressures to perform now if it could mean permanent disability or chronic problems later.
Neal C. Chen, MD, et al. Sports-Related Wrist Injuries in Adults. In Sports Health. November/December 2009. Vol. 1. No. 6. Pp. 469-477.
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