Thousands of young athletic Sudburians are chomping at the bit to reintegrate themselves into the training regimen of their specific sport or sports.
Kim Brouzes fully understands that. It's a feeling that is all too natural.
Still, in spite of the fact that it's not the message that athletes, coaches and parents would like to hear, the owner/operator of Active Therapy Plus is sounding a cautionary note.
"As parents, as a sports community, we need to slow the season down a little bit," said Brouzes. "Instead of throwing them into the same practice that you might have planned in the summer of 2020, maybe take it a bit slower."
As much as Brouzes works on a daily basis with injured athletes, she would just as soon ensure that the malaises that can be avoided are avoided.
"Our job is to develop these kids through all stages of their growth and development," she suggested, alluding to an all-around concerted effort that involves all those who work with the training of young athletes.
"The biggest factor to keep in mind is that it's been 16 months since these athletes last competed. Kids change a lot in 16 months. They are different humans, different people."
And while she absolutely recognizes that many who compete beyond a purely recreational level have remained busy, morphing workouts into whatever could realistically and feasibly be done, Brouzes also knows that there is a leap to be made when turning the switch to game mode - and even ultra-intense practices.
"The things that you can do in your driveway or your basement or your garage are very different than what you can do in an organized activity," she said. "Take ten minutes for each athlete, look at them, talk to them."
"Coaches need to re-introduce themselves to these kids, take a physiological profile, a quick scan of how they have changed - just get to know them again."
"If we try and throw these kids into the season as though we hadn't missed a beat, these kids are going to get hurt."
Though some of that might be unavoidable, Brouzes does have a few other suggestions that she feels might keep young athletes away from her office.
"Make sure they are doing good warm ups, that they are stretching enough," she said. "Their hip flexors might be tight right now, their backs and necks might be sore. Throwing them back into a full practice is risky."
"It's just to keep in mind to slow things down and train their bodies again," Brouzes added. "Their muscle memory will be quite quick. This has never been done before where you develop, develop, develop, stop in your tracks - and then start again a year later."
While the situation itself might be somewhat unique, the inherent issues at the heart of the problem are certainly not new.
"The fact is that 80% of all injuries in sport are simply trying to go too hard, too fast," said Brouzes. "We can't prevent all injuries, but we can use a little bit of education, just being mindful about what their bodies are going through."