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physical therapist, patient

National statistics indicate that many high school students are injured playing and practicing sports each year.  According to the National High School Sports-Related Injury Surveillance Study, high school students experienced 1.24 million injuries in the 2020-2021 school year.

The study defines injuries as an event that requires medical attention and prevents the athlete from participating in games and practices. Contact sports like football experienced the highest rate of injuries. Girls’ soccer had the next highest injury rate. 

What is the difference between soreness and injuries?

In athletics, there’s a big difference between being sore and sustaining an injury.

  • Soreness can result in slower and cautious movement patterns, which prevents an athlete from moving at game speeds. 

  • An injury can be more involved—damaging soft tissue or bone—and elicits pain. This may prevent an athlete from competing in their given sport, which keeps them sidelined.  

Why is sports recovery important?

Athletes, parents and coaches often can’t tell when an athlete should “walk it off” or seek medical attention when it comes to high school sports. Additionally, early sports specialization (heavy participation in mostly one sport year-round) has become more prevalent and another predisposing factor to injuries. The repetitive nature of performing the same motions day-after-day without much variety or rest places excessive stress on developing tissues. 

The specialists in sports medicine rehabilitation at St. Charles Hospital (Port Jefferson, NY) are able to differentially diagnose soreness versus injury, which gives the athlete exactly what they need. Whether it’s expediting medical care with a referral to a sports physician due to an injury, or taking care of routine soreness, St. Charles Hospital therapists know the best and most effective route for optimal care.

That’s where the Sports Recovery Clinic at St. Charles Hospital comes into play—evaluation, treatment and education.

Sports Recovery Clinic at St. Charles Hospital

physical therapist, patient

Staffed by board-certified physical therapists, the clinic provides two primary services to young athletes. 

1. The Sports Recovery Clinic offers treatments to alleviate normal soreness, stiffness and pain that come from playing sports. During a visit, athletes may be treated with equipment usually available only in elite college programs and professional sports. Treatments include: 

  • Cupping
  • Electrical stimulation therapy
  • Ice baths
  • Intermittent compression boots
  • Massage
  • Vibration therapy

2. Staff at the Sports Recovery Clinic triage athletes’ injuries. They evaluate the injury and determine if it will improve with time and provide supportive care if they need to start physical therapy or see an orthopedic surgeon. 


Knowledge for today and the future

Our Sport Recovery Clinic therapists make clinical decisions based on academic training and years of sports medicine experience in clinical settings and on the sidelines. In this way, we serve as an educational resource for athletes, coaches and family members. In fact, between clinic sessions, Sports Recovery Clinic team members routinely field questions from parents and athletes.

Armed with the knowledge of how to take care of their bodies, athletes are better equipped to play at the collegiate level or for recreational sports after their student career is over. 


Make an appointment

Any high school athlete can visit the Sports Recovery Clinic on Sundays between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. No appointment is necessary and there’s no charge for the service. 

Appointments are also available throughout the week at:


Learn more about physical therapy and rehabilitation services at Catholic Health.

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