Returning to Play after a Sports Injury: Information for Parents and Athletes

Picture of soccer athlete with sports-related knee injuryIt’s back-to-school season, and for many high school and college athletes, that may mean returning to the field of competition after a sports injury from the previous season or summer break. No one likes to sit on the sideline, but returning to the field too early after a sports injury can put athletes at serious risk for re-injury.

“Return to play” refers to the point at which an athlete is able to safely resume playing his or her sport following an injury. After a bone, muscle or joint injury, it is important for athletes to seek treatment from a provider who specializes in sports medicine as early as possible to reduce the risk of permanent damage, loss of function or re-injury. It is equally important to follow the recommended treatment plan carefully throughout recovery in order to return to play as safely and efficiently as possible.

Depending on the diagnosis, nonsurgical treatment may be the best course of action. Physical medicine and rehabilitation physicians (also known as interventional physiatrists) specialize in treating and managing painful symptoms related to a variety of sports-related injuries, including neck, back, shoulder, hip, leg and knee conditions. Through electromyography (EMG), nerve conduction studies, diagnostic imaging and other tests, they determine the source of an athlete’s pain, stiffness or discomfort, and design a treatment plan based on the patient’s individual needs.

Some of the most common nonsurgical treatment options performed by our physiatrists at Dickson-Diveley Orthopaedics include:

Of course, orthopedic surgery is necessary for some athletes. Using the latest surgical techniques and technology, our board-certified orthopedic surgeons specialize in evaluating, diagnosing and treating sports-related injuries to help athletes return to their field of competition quickly and efficiently.

To learn more about sports medicine at Dickson-Diveley Orthopaedics or consult with one of our physicians, please make an appointment by calling 913-319-7600.


The medical information contained in the Dickson-Diveley Orthopaedics website is provided to increase your knowledge and understanding of orthopedic conditions. This information should not be interpreted as a recommendation for a specific medical or surgical treatment plan. As each patient may have specific symptoms or associated problems, the treatment regimen for a specific patient may not be the proper treatment for another.

Gaining knowledge and understanding of a particular problem or condition is the first step in any medical treatment plan. We believe the information presented on our website will be helpful for those individuals experiencing hand and wrist diseases, injuries, or other related problems. However, this information is not intended to replace the advice of your family physician. You are encouraged to consult with your physician to discuss any course of treatment presented or suggested.