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Local athlete has a hand in BounceBack’s mission to help teens recover from sports-related injuries

Sixteen-year-old Megan Phillips performs her uneven bars routine at the Washington state gymnastics competition in February. Phillips was almost unable to compete due to a sprained ankle but got healthy just in time. - Courtesy of Megan Phillips
Sixteen-year-old Megan Phillips performs her uneven bars routine at the Washington state gymnastics competition in February. Phillips was almost unable to compete due to a sprained ankle but got healthy just in time.
— image credit: Courtesy of Megan Phillips

Whether an athlete is brand new to their chosen sport or a 15-year veteran preparing for their third Olympics, one thing that could set them back — no matter the experience level — is an injury.

Having to sit out for weeks, or even months, at a time is not easy, but one Redmond teen is part of a project focused on preventing and treating sports injuries in student athletes.

Sixteen-year-old Megan Phillips has been interning for BounceBack, an online database collecting information about sports-related injuries, since the beginning of June. The goal of the project, she said, is to help student athletes bounce back from injuries better.

“Hopefully we can make it easier for people to get back to their sport,” Phillips said.

She is one of three interns — the other two are based in California — on the project and together, they created the BounceBack website, created fliers and business cards, came up with survey questions to ask student athletes and more.

The questions are focused on athletes’ sports, their injuries, how they were injured, how long they were out and the type of treatment they received while they were injured.

Phillips said they hope to find patterns in the data they collect and relay that information to sports equipment companies and sports medicine doctors in the hopes that the companies can improve their equipment to help prevent injuries from happening. They also hope doctors can come up with treatment plans that help athletes get healthy and back in the game faster.

So far, Phillips said she has seen a variety of injuries, but especially a lot of soccer injuries. In addition, many athletes have said they were injured due to an uneven playing surface, while others said injuries are just part of the game and sport.

BounceBack, which is based in California, is mainly focused on current student athletes in their teens, but Phillips said they have received responses from adults who were injured during their teen years.

So far, Phillips said they have received most of their responses from athletes in Washington and California — where she and the other interns live — but they have also received a couple from places such as Texas and Illinois.

“We’re hoping to spread it more,” she said.

Phillips, who will be a junior at Lake Washington High School (LWHS) this fall, first learned about the BounceBack internship through her mother, who works for PatientCrossroads, BounceBack’s parent company. Phillips said she is interested in sports medicine and saw BounceBack as an opportunity to learn more about the field. And so far, she has been enjoying herself.

“It’s definitely made me more excited about sports,” she said about the project.

In addition to her interest in sports medicine, BounceBack caught Phillips’ interest because she is student athlete: She competes in gymnastics and track and field for LWHS.

Last year, Phillips sprained her ankle during the gymnastics season and was almost kept from competing in the post season. She said she received physical therapy and got healthy just in time for the post season. Phillips knows she was lucky and said through BounceBack, she hopes other student athletes will receive the treatment they need for an injury, as well.

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