My boyfriend is on our college football team. When we were at a party last night sitting in a hot tub, I noticed he had a big bruise on the side of his hip/thigh. He says he got hit pretty hard in practice but that it's nothing. I'm really worried. Should he at least tell his coach about this?
Players are often unwilling to report injuries to the team athletic trainer or coach for two reasons. One, it might keep them out of the game. And two, they don't want to be seen as a weakling or baby.
Every player experiences his fair share of injuries that leave bruises. Most of the time, the injuries are minor and will heal on their own. We call these problems self-limiting. But there are those rare times when what seems like a simple problem turns out to be more serious than originally suspected.
From your description, it sounds like your boyfriend may have what's called a hip pointer. Athletes who collide with others or who take the force of a helmeted head into the lateral hip can end up with a hip pointer.
This injury or contusion is visible as blood under the skin leaves a large bruise. It is treated with a leave it alone approach. Ice, rest, and compression help the body complete its natural course of healing.
Pain that doesn't go away with an injury like this could be a sign of a bone fracture. X-rays may be needed to know for sure. The biggest risk is for recurrent bleeding. Athletes are advised to rest and avoid vigorous activity for at least 48 hours after an injury like this.
Robert C. Grumet, MD, et al. Lateral Hip Pain in an Athletic Population: Differential Diagnosis and Treatment Options. In Sports Health. May/June 2010. Vol. 2. No. 3. Pp. 191-196.
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