Athletes have the potential to sustain a myriad of injuries, ranging from muscle strains and overuse to fractures and dislocations. The team physician and sideline medical professionals must be keenly aware of the risk potential, and have an emergency plan in place to address any potential injuries. Bone injury can range from unstable, open fractures to overuse and stress fractures. Coaches and players may challenge recommendations regarding not only treatment, but also return-to-play issues. The fundamental guideline must always be what is safe for the athlete. Decisions must be individualized for each athlete, anatomic site, and injury. If the athlete is not at significant risk to himself, the fracture is healed or can be protected, and the athlete can function at his previous level with a protective device, he may be able to return to sport.
(C) 2003 American College of Sports Medicine