It’s something you never want to experience as an athlete- a sprained ankle, a torn ACL or even in a concussion.

“We’re available should the need arise. Unfortunately, injuries are a part of every sport,” said Dr. Michael Duval.

Duval is an orthopedic surgeon and medical director for the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Athletics.

Travis Soileau, UL assistant athletics director for sports medicine said he stays in constant communication with Duval, managing every athlete in every sport.

“They’re probably our lifeline to making things happen because when injuries happen, your orthopedic is really going to be the one who takes care of it if it’s a surgical type issue,” Soileau said.

According to a recent study by the CDC, football players are estimated to have the highest number of men’s sports injuries per year.

For women’s sports, soccer accounted for the highest estimated number of per year.

“We have injuries specific to our soccer girls,” Duval said. “Lower extremity injuries, knee injuries, ACL tears. Women’s soccer and men’s football are two of the highest sports for concussions.”

At UL, the staff is made up of eight full-time athletic trainers and three intern trainers.

Each sport is assigned a trainer to make sure athletes are taken care of on and off the field.

“There’s some athletic injuries that are career-threatening injuries,” Duval added. “We have to be honest with these kids on the severity of this injury. In some situations it’s just a cumulative effect of a long athletic career.”

Soileau says the best way to prevent injuries is to focus on building up strength.

“We try to work very closely with our strength and conditioning staff, making sure our athletes are in the weight room,” Soileau said. “They’re building up their muscle mass and staying healthy that way, kind of prevents us from doing that kind of work.”

As for the current athletes, experts say preventing injuries is about being smart on and off the field.

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