You need a team to care for your athlete 10/31
By Sports Medicine & Performance Center staff
No person is an island – especially not youth athletes. Athletes require training, support and specialized medical attention to ensure a healthy life from youth to adulthood.
Proper care for young athletes begins with the coach, according to David M. Smith, MD, Youth Sports Medicine Medical Director at The University of Kansas Hospital Sports Medicine & Performance Center.
"It's so important for coaches to have appropriate, up-to-date training," he said. "Some may coach their players the way they were coached in high school, which isn't necessarily safe or correct for today's athletes. Coaches also need to have the proper background and certification for the sport they're coaching, because they need to understand the injuries their players may sustain."
Dr. Smith also emphasized that parents play an important role in keeping a young athlete healthy. He offered a variety of ways for parents to guide their children.
Recognizing when a young athlete is struggling is also important to prevent additional injuries. Dr. Smith suggested a few more tips to keep in mind.
If you notice your young athlete exerting any of these symptoms, encourage them to speak with their athletic trainer. Many high schools employ on-site, hospital-affiliated athletic trainers to ensure athletes receive the highest level of injury prevention, evaluations, rehabilitation and reconditioning. The Sports Medicine & Performance Center alone has athletic trainers in 14 high schools throughout the Kansas City area to help athletes perform at their best.
If the athletic trainer or coach suspects an injury requiring medical attention, it is vital that young athletes receive care from sports medicine specialists. While teenage athletes may fall within the age of pediatric or family medical care, orthopedic surgeon E. Bruce Toby, MD, at the Sports Medicine & Performance Center stressed that “anatomical specialization trumps everything, including age-related specialization, particularly when talking about significant sports injuries.”
The distinction of seeing a sports medicine physician who specializes in specific areas of the body ensures young athletes receive expert care to repair the injury, facilitate recovery and avoid future injuries when returning to their sport. Whether your discus thrower suffers a shoulder ligament injury or your football star tears their ACL, sports medicine physicians are trained to get them back to it as soon and safely as possible – and help maintain that health as young athletes continue competing in adulthood.
The University of Kansas Hospital Sports Medicine Archive
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