Sports Medicine Archives - Nemours Blog

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Sports Medicine

The bridge to a brighter future

The bridge to a brighter future

When Erin Pitts faced spinal surgery as a teen, she never imagined it would impact her life in other ways. Diagnosed with scoliosis at a young age, initially the care plan for the Jacksonville, Fla., resident was to pursue a non-surgical approach to correct the curves in her spine using a back brace. When her complex scoliosis proved resistant to treatment, however, surgery became the best option for long-term results. The experience ended up changing not only her health, but also her career trajectory. Pitts first learned of her condition in the sixth grade, when she began experiencing intense lower back pain. As her condition gradually began limiting her daily activities, her mom made an appointment with her pediatrician. He referred her to Nemours for an orthopedic assessment, where she became a patient of Eric Loveless, MD, department chair of orthopedics at Nemours and a board-certified pediatric surgeon who performs […]

Expert Question and Answer

Expert Q&A: Returning to School Sports

Dr. Emelynn Fajardo and Dr. Zach Stinson discuss and answer questions about returning to school sports. This broadcast originally aired on Facebook Live.

8 Common Running Injuries

8 Common Running Injuries

Running is a sport that can be done all year long. For many young athletes, running is their after school sport of choice. Runners can compete in the fall, winter and spring in cross country, run indoor/outdoor track, and train in the summer. Whether a student is running throughout the year or during a specific season, all are prone to running-specific injuries. Shin Splints One of the most common injuries for runners are shin splints, caused by inflammation in the tissues, tendons, and bones in the shin (tibia). This overuse injury can be due to new or increased training. Pain along the tibia is associated with shin splints, as well as sharp or dull and throbbing pain and mild swelling. The pain can last both during and after running, and the area hurts to touch. People with flat feet or worn-out or improper footwear are more prone to shin splints. […]

How to Encourage Your Teen to Report a Concussion, Powered by Nemours Children's Health System

How to Encourage Your Teen to Report a Concussion

For most of us, getting medical care right away for a possible brain injury, such as a concussion, is an easy decision. But teen athletes often have a tougher time identifying when they need to stop and get help. Research has shown that as many as 50% of concussions go under-reported in youth sports. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that: 69% of high school athletes said they had played while having concussion symptoms 4 in 10 of these said their coach didn’t know they had a possible concussion These statistics are significant given the amount of children involved in organized youth sports. Why don’t youth athletes report concussions? They didn’t know they had one: While headache is often an easily recognized symptom, dizziness and nausea can be overlooked or linked to something else such as dehydration. Fear of loss of playing time. Not wanting to let […]

Kids and Concussions. Tips for Parents and Coaches

Kids and Concussions: Tips for Parents and Coaches

In recent years, sports-related concussions in children and teens have helped to raise public awareness of concussions and their long-term effects. As a result, concussions are now being reported and diagnosed more than they were in past years. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in 2010 that there were 400,000 concussions and brain injuries per year among high school athletes. This increased awareness means that providers are more able to properly diagnose and treat concussions in kids. Why Playing Sports Is Important for Kids When your kids play sports, either on a team or individually, it’s incredibly good for their health and well-being. Sports are a powerful tool that breaks down barriers while also helping kids feel good about themselves, both physically and mentally. Sports also play an important part in a child’s formative years and some schools are more aware of this than others. These schools employ […]

Talking to kids about the meaning of 'taking a knee,' Powered by Nemours Children's Health System

Talking to Kids about the Meaning of “Taking a Knee”

With the popularity of NFL football and the current controversy over “taking a knee,” it’s likely this week your children may ask questions or have already expressed opinions about this form of protest. I often recommend that parents respond to tough questions from their kids with questions of their own. If your child asks, “What is ‘taking a knee’ all about?” I suggest you ask what he’s heard, what he thinks about it, or what his friends are saying. Rather than trying to explain the whole history of race relations and athletic activism in America, you want to provide the simplest answer or explanation at a level appropriate to the child’s development. Offer Facts Try to help your child understand the topic better or correct misconceptions by offering facts. For example, you might say:  “Normally, players stand for the playing of our national anthem at football games. These players are […]

Fueling Your Growing Athlete, Powered by Nemours Children's Health System

Fueling Your Growing Athlete

It’s back to school time, and for some families, this may mean the start of a new sports season as well. The challenge with young athletes is meeting their nutritional needs for growth, while fueling them with the right types and amounts of food for lasting energy during practice and games. The goal is to eat in preparation for exercise, rather than from a depletion in nutrients after exercise. Here are a few tips for fueling your growing athlete. Carbohydrates Carbohydrates are found in foods like pasta, rice, bread, cereal, fruits, vegetables, and dairy. They are the body’s preferred source of energy during a workout. During digestion, carbohydrates are broken down into sugar and used immediately for energy, while some of this sugar is stored in the muscles or liver for later use. Carbohydrates should provide about half of your child’s caloric intake. Limit simple carbohydrates like chips and sweets, […]

Osgood-Schlatter Disease, Powered by Nemours Children's Health System

Kids’ Knee Pain: Is It Osgood-Schlatter Disease?

I remember when my son was 12 years old, he would wake up in the middle of the night crying and complaining of knee pain. He had started to run track in middle school, and he started to get a little bump just below his knee cap at the top of his shin bone. Our pediatrician called it “growing pains” and said it would go away. He recommended that he do some stretches and ice after track practice. Eventually it did resolve once track season was over, and he didn’t have any problems after that. What I found out later is that this wasn’t growing pains at all – it was a common sports injury known as “Osgood-Schlatter disease.” What is Osgood-Schlatter disease? Although it sounds scary because of the word “disease,” Osgood-Schlatter is one of the most common causes of knee pain in adolescents. It’s an overuse injury that […]

Sorting Out 7 Common Sports Injury Myths, by Alfred Atanda, Jr., MD, Powered by Nemours Children's Health System

Sorting Out 7 Common Sports Injury Myths

“No pain, no gain.” “Walk it off.” “He has a high tolerance for pain.” I’ve heard each one of these quotes and more during my many years as a pediatric orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine. Many of them are actively detrimental to the health of your child, not just at that moment but when they grow into a professional athlete as well. As you already know sports injuries can be life-changing, that’s why many professional athletes take out long term disability insurance in case they are left permanently out of action. Would you be willing to put your child at risk of permanent injury because of a few false preconceived notions you can easily avoid? The answer should always be “no”. How many sports injury myths do you believe to be true? Here’s a list of the most popular things I hear regarding preventing and dealing with sports injuries, […]

Boccia: A Game for All Abilities, by Brie Sheppard, PT, DPT, Promise, Powered by Nemours Children's Health System

Boccia: A Game for All Abilities

The 2016 Rio Paralympics just came to a close, and the USA is celebrating its most successful Paralympic performance in recent history. A whopping 289 American Paralympic athletes brought home a total of 115 medals, and the USA finished fourth in the medal count. Independent of standings, results, and rankings, the Paralympics and Team USA never fail to remind us of what the body is truly capable of and what impossibilities the spirit can overcome. It’s this motivation and inspiration that was the driving force behind the creation of our Paralympic Boccia program in 2014, with Nemours becoming an official U.S. Paralympic Sports Club in 2015. What Is Boccia? Boccia is a game, similar to backyard Bocce, created especially for the Paralympics in 1984. The object of the game is to score points by propelling your team’s balls closest to the target ball on a long, narrow, indoor playing court. In Boccia, all […]

Youth Soccer: What's the Goal, , by Jessica Laniak, PT, DPT, OCS, Powered by Nemours Children's Health System

Youth Soccer: What’s the Goal?

This fall, young athletes will line up on soccer fields with new cleats, uniforms, teammates, and coaches. But for many, fall isn’t the beginning of a season — it’s merely the continuation of playing youth soccer year-round. The sports epidemic of specializing in one sport too early (under the age of 12), has been widely publicized. However, these days it’s more than likely that you and your young athlete spent most of your summer at travel soccer tournaments, team camps, and soccer preseason. I know, I’ve been there with you. I’m a mother of four boys and a travel youth soccer coach for my 10-year-old. And I very often grapple with my reality of raising a soccer family and my professional responsibility as a pediatric sports medicine physical therapist. When I integrate my current daily life with my former life, as a collegiate soccer player, I totally understand the perspective of the […]

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