DENVER (KDVR) — All Boulder Valley School District students go back to class Thursday, and a lot of students, especially at the high school level, might be looking to participate in a sport and possibly for the first time.

If the students haven’t had some sort of sports camp over the summer, there might be an adjustment period for getting back into practicing a sport every day.

FOX31 spoke to Jeff Katzoff, the owner and physical therapist at Synergy in the Parker area. He also works with high school sports programs as the medical director.

Common injuries

As schools are starting up a lot of teams are conducting tryouts, but how do parents tell the difference between just a little bit of soreness and an injury that they should actually be concerned about?

“Hopefully they’ve done something. There have been a lot of camps over the summer, especially the incoming freshmen camps that are coming in. So these kids have been, for instance, most of the football teams have had five to six weeks of some kind of organization, introduction stuff. So their biggest transition is really just combining that with everyday life,” Katzoff said.

Common overuse injuries, he said, that need more attention and could take some home time to heal are the front of the knee, back of the ankle, inside part of the shoulder, and front of the shin.

“We see a lot of what they would call shin splint injuries, that anterior shin pain, a lot of it in cross country, a lot of it and just football being in cleats. Soccer for the boys being in cleats and not having the supportive shoe to progress them into training. They do increase the load quickly on all of those sports for running and I think educating parents to understand that shoes are expensive, and it’s a very difficult challenge,” said Katzoff,

High school students are growing much faster at that age, so often their bones are growing faster than muscles and that can cause more tendinitis-type injuries.

He said to avoid injuries, it’s best to go to a running-specific store and get fitted for shoes because shoes can change the foot mechanics.

“Sometimes the coaches will say well go get running shoes, and [families] go to a local store and they’ll look on the shelf and [they will be labled] running shoes. [Parents will] just say, ‘Well which one of those do you like?’ ‘Well, everybody wears Nike, so let’s buy that.’ They’ll grab that shoe and not get fitted to the shoe that necessarily fits the feet,” said Katzoff.

Katzoff said if there’s a concern, most schools have athletic trainers but there’s not always enough of them to be attentive to every sport, so you can always go see a physical therapist if there’s concern of a big injury.

Is it better to play one or multiple sports?

Katzoff said this topic is really up for debate, but it likely depends on the age of your student and their goals.

He believes, especially with the younger athletes eighth graders, ninth graders, and 10th graders, playing a multitude of sports is much more beneficial.

“So allowing kids to play multiple sports allows them to use their skills and change their bodies’ activity level and mechanics,” said Katzoff.

If a student is going for a scholarship in a particular sport, he understands why they would want to be all in on that sport. However, Katzoff said that could come with more repetitive injuries.

Should first-year athletes aim for Varsity or C team?

Should making the varsity team be the goal of first-year students?

Katzoff said though students might be talented, it’s not always the best idea.

“There are kids and parents that believe their kid should play at the varsity level or the junior varsity level as a freshman, but then realize how come my kids not getting that playing time, and so it’s better off to get them into those lower divisions and lower levels,” Katzoff said. “They’re just not ready for that developmentally, and then all of a sudden they sprout up and grow. And now they’re gangly and loose all over the place and they have work to catch up with.”

He added that proper diet and hydration are a huge part of success in sports, as well as doing some static stretching outside of what’s required for practice.