Health Matters: Athletes Shouldn’t Ignore First Sign of Pain

LITTLE ROCK, AR– Playing sports can be competitive in nature and whether you’re out on the field, court or in the pool, athletes may be prone to injuries. Doctors say athletes shouldn’t ignore the first sign of pain.

We caught up with one Bryant teenager, Barrett Pfeiffer, who is still feeling discomfort in his right shoulder. Pain is still shooting up his pitching arm.

“When I’m coming back way too much, it’s just pinching way too much when I come forward,” he says.

The 16-year-old student-athlete first noticed the problem a couple of years ago. The pain was on and off, until it eventually became worse.

“It’s a lot of the motion, and because shoulders aren’t really meant to throw baseballs,” he adds.

But Barrett’s love for the game overshadowed the ache, which soon became an injury. The condition is called Glenohumeral Internal Rotation Deficit. It’s a common problem Dr. Adam Smithman finds with certain athletes.

“The top and back part of the rotator cuff have gotten beat up over time,” the orthopedic sports medicine surgeon explains.

Fatigue and the fact we aren’t built to throw things over our heads, contribute to the problem.

“We’re increasingly seeing more of this because people play sports year round and they don’t have a lot of time to rest their arms or their shoulders,” says Dr. Smithman.

He suggests a rigorous set of stretches, before and after throwing, can help alleviate the problem. Right now, Barrett is sitting on the bench, but with plenty of rest, medication and physical therapy, he’s focused on returning to the pitcher’s mound in time for his senior year.

“I went to the field the other day and watched my team play and I was in the bleachers and it’s kinda disappointing. Any pain that you feel, just get it check out, never hesitate,” he recommends.

No matter the sport or pain, simply listen to your body and don’t ignore it. Doctors say Barrett’s condition can also be seen in athletes who play tennis, volleyball and those who swim.

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