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Out there in the real world, one athletic trainer experienced the following:

As an athletic trainer, you are taught to be ready for any injury, but sometimes athletes get injuries that you never expect to see. This happened to me while working at a soccer camp over the summer.

During one of their scrimmages, a goalkeeper at the goal closest to me stepped to dive laterally to the right when her right leg became weak, causing her to fall. As I ran to her, I was trying to figure out what injury might cause her to collapse like that. I was assuming it would be a knee or ankle injury, but as I got closer to her, I could see her holding her thigh. When I asked her what happened, she said, "I tore my quad." This girl was 13 years old, and I was thinking that she might have strained the quadriceps muscle. A tear just did not seem possible. As I visually scanned her quadriceps muscle, I could see a large knot approximately three fourths of the way up her thigh. As I began to palpate her leg, I felt a large divot just inferior to the knot. At this point, I was shocked to realize she was correct, and then I was even more shocked when I started to think I would have to calm her down; however, she was already rather calm.

She stated that this had happened to her before and did not require surgery, but the prior injury did not feel like this before. I assisted her to the medical transport cart and we took her to the medical tent for further evaluation and treatment. We decided to pack her leg in ice and send her to the hospital. She went into surgery later that night. I never saw her again, but I received an e-mail a few weeks later saying that she was doing fine and was in rehabilitation to get back to playing.

Alex Geier, AT, ATC

Head Athletic Trainer, Ross High School

McCullough Hyde Memorial Hospital

Hamilton, Ohio


learning outcomes

After working through this chapter, you will be able to:

  1. Verbalize the questions to use when obtaining a thorough medical history for an assessment.

  2. Describe the principles of body movement at the hip, thigh, and lower leg and the various mechanisms of injury that affect the hip, thigh, and lower leg.

  3. Compare and contrast the findings of various special tests and the role of diagnostic tests used during a hip, thigh, or lower leg evaluation.

  4. Explain the medical terminology associated with the assessment of musculoskeletal injuries.

  5. Verbalize the standard procedures used for a clinical evaluation of the hip, thigh, and lower leg, and interpret the findings for differential diagnoses.


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