Children's Mercy tackling sports injuries

Submitted to PrepsKC

By Dion Clisso PrepsKC Managing Editor
Posted: April 26, 2011 - 10:43 PM



In the Kansas City Metro there are many great hospitals and care facilities. Among those is the world renowned Children’s Mercy Hospital.

Children’s Mercy has long been known as the premier facility for child related illnesses. The hospital and its clinics feature more than 40 pediatric specialty services along with the area’s most comprehensive level of neonatal intensive care and the Metro’s only level I pediatric trauma center.

One of the newest specialties at Children’s Mercy is the sports medicine. The hospital opened its Center for Sports Medicine last year with a focus on the treatment and prevention of youth sports injuries.

The center’s Medical Director Dr. Greg Canty said adolescent sports injuries are an underserved area in sports medicine.

“No one has really been specializing in the student athlete,” Canty said. “There are lots of folks that try to get on the sidelines for college and professional games but those are few in number. The whole idea when I came back was to start a program that was focused on the student athlete particularly at the high school age and below. When you talk about that group it is a large bulk of concussions.”

Head injuries and concussions have been a focus of medical personal and coaches for the past few years. In the metro the topic became an even bigger topic last fall when a player at Spring Hill died after a head injury suffered during the final regular season game of the year.

That tragedy occurred right as Dr. Canty and his staff were opening the Center for Sports Medicine and since that time Dr. Canty and the Center has just focused on getting the most up to date information to the people on the ground who are dealing with these injuries on a daily basis.

“The big thing that I’ve been trying to emphasize is education,” Canty said. “Updating people on where we stand and what we know about concussion. There are a lot of things we don’t know about concussion. We are trying to update community providers so they are aware and just football coaches, players and parents. All of those people are just crying out for information. Trying to update them on the latest and greatest things we know about concussions.

“What I see as our biggest role in the community is to spread that knowledge the best we can. That is what our focus has been thus far when it comes to head injuries and concussions.”

Dr. Canty said with football season right around the corner there are a few things to keep in mind for players and coaches in terms of concussions and head injuries.

“The first thing is to educate yourself on what the signs of concussion are,” Canty said. “For your benefit and your teammates benefit. You have to look out for each other, that is a team concept. There is a little saying that is when in doubt, check it out.

“Second thing is if you are going to do a baseline test make sure you take it seriously and get a good valid baseline test. The final thing is to get a good well-fitted helmet. We don’t know if helmets do much to prevent concussion but you need to make sure you have a good reconditioned helmet that fits properly. That is the big thing.”

Concussions are a focus but the Center for Sports Medicine is a full service sports medicine clinic. Along with Dr. Canty, Dr. Kevin Latz is the surgical director and Dr. Donna Pacicca is on staff as an orthopedic surgeon. Dr. Canty is certified in both sports medicine and emergency medicine and Dr. Latz is a certified orthopedic surgeon.

Also on the staff is Certified Athletic Trainer Nicole Fillingame who is the program coordinator, Nurse Practitioner Angie Vanderpool and Neuropsychologist Maria Korth.

With the season just a few months away Dr. Canty and the Center for Sports Medicine are offering a free coaches conference on medical related conditions such as concussions, heat-related illnesses, nutrition, ACL injury prevention July 23 at Children’s Mercy. For more information about the Center and the coaches conference go to www.childrensmercy.org/sportsmedicine.