In 600 BCE, the first known recording of exercise prescription was made in India. Since then, the medical field has been veered off path from the core of human health: nutrition and physical activity. The focus has shifted to reactive treatment with pharmaceuticals and technology, as opposed to prevention in their overall wellbeing.
Fortunately, and ironically, the healthcare industry has circled back to the essentials with the "Exercise is Medicine" movement. This is in sync with the recent shift in societal and corporate promotion of "wellness" in the prevention of sedentary-related diseases (hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, etc.).
Specific to orthopedics, overall physical fitness is one of the best ways to prevent injury. Whether acute or chronic, being in good shape ( i.e. strength, flexibility, coordination, cardiovascular, balance) can help prevent injury issues.
If an injury does occur, exercise should be used as a part of the rehabilitation process. We back off on whatever activity has caused the trauma, identify any physical deficits, then address with an individualized plan for recovery. Regardless if it's an upper or lower extremity problem, we can always have a positive and active approach to an injury. This may include alternative low-impact activities and incorporating the rehabilitation program into a strength training regime.
If you have students and athletes that take a passive approach to their recovery: this is likely not the best treatment. This also includes the management plan from healthcare providers. Athletes with injuries should be prescribed an active rehabilitation program to address the orthopedic issue, as well as maintain their fitness level.