MIDVALE, Utah -- Along with the pressure of year round competitive leagues and traveling teams, the injury rate among high school athletes has risen.
“As a physical therapist, for 25 years, I have seen an increase in sports injuries,” said Robin Cecil, who also works as the assistant coach for the girls’ soccer team at Hillcrest High School in Midvale.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports 3.2 million visits a year to Emergency Rooms due to youth sports, calling it the leading cause of injury for 12 to 17 year olds.
“I’m actually coming back from an injury,” said Kate Timmerman a soccer player at Hillcrest High School.
Timmerman and the rest of her teammates are trying a new tool this year to limit injuries. It’s called AthleteMonitoring.com. Every day, after practice, the young athletes complete a short survey through an app, tracking their workload and how they are feeling. The data is fed back to coaches.
“Over 50% of all injuries are preventable. That means we as coaches…we are responsible,” said Cecil.
Many athletes compete in more than one sport. Even the best coaches can have a hard time tracking what their players are doing to train for other athletic endeavors.
“We have a couple that are doing cross country and they are playing soccer. That’s a high demand on their bodies at such a young age,” said Kyra Peery, the head coach of the girls’ soccer team at Hillcrest High.
The app also helps hold students accountable, making it harder to hide minor injuries that could keep them off the field.
“Sometimes you try to hide it but AthleteMonitoring helps you be honest about it,” said Timmerman.
The team at Hillcrest High may be the first high school athletic program in Utah to use the app. The goal goes beyond a single season and into a lifetime of fitness.
“When you over train them young, then they have injuries they take with them for their lives.”