New partnership seeks to prevent sports injuries

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The girl's basketball team practices IBJI designed stretches.

On a typical afternoon at VHHS, the trainer’s room is the place to be. Students file in and out before, during, and after practice, nursing injuries of all kinds. According to a survey done by the National Athletic Trainer’s Association, 90 percent of student-athletes experience some sort of injury during their careers, and 54 percent have reported playing while injured.

With this in mind, teaching kids how to properly work out and recover after a tough workout is something that schools have been concerned about. Vernon Hills has chosen to try and solve some of the issues that come with high school sports— most namely injury prevention— and educate new athletes by partnering with IBJI, or the Illinois Bone and Joint Institute.

The Illinois Bone and Joint Institute, which was founded in 1990, is a company that has worked with several important sports teams over the years — the Chicago Sky, USA Rugby, and the Chicago Wolves are just a few. They are now working with VHHS student-athletes directly to try to promote healthy ways to prevent injury and increase bone and joint strength.

Mr. McDonald, the athletic director, commented on the goals of the partnership.

“The main idea for this is to try and make sure our athletes are physically prepared to do whatever it is they are doing during a particular practice,” McDonald said. “In addition, we are also trying to see how our athletes can recover properly from these workouts and go home and be ready the next day.”

The girls basketball team has already been impacted by this new resource, and it is helping them in a variety of ways, according to Varsity Basketball Coach Paul Brettner.

“[IBJI is] really big on sports performance and injury prevention, and we’ve had a lot of injuries the last couple years,” Brettner said.

Brettner also mentioned how the IBJI representatives, Jason and Alex, have implemented two major components to the girl’s team and their workouts. He said IBJI helped girls on the team who weren’t participating in a fall sport by creating injury prevention workouts for them.

IBJI additionally has helped craft a pre-game “dynamic” warmup for the team in order to properly stretch the muscles most prominently used in the sport. This instruction is meant to enable athletes at VHHS to have the tools to keep themselves healthy and to excel in their sports.

Evelyn Leary (11), a player on the VHHS varsity girls basketball team, participated in the “pre-season” program and had a very positive opinion.

“One of the cool things about the program was that [IBJI] made these workouts specific to the sport we were training for,” Leary said.

She went on to mention many exercises that the instructor, Jason, taught them in order to both prevent injury and build strength in the areas used the most in basketball, such as box jumps, core movements, and hip mobility training.

This partnership is in its pilot year at VHHS, which means that the school will have the option to sign a new contract with IBJI for however many years, if they so choose. The feedback from both coaches and players so far has been positive.

“Getting hurt and having to sit out in any sport is not fun, so I think this partnership is very useful,” Leary said.