Participation in school sports helps foster healthy and well-rounded students, but it is important that athletes take necessary precautions to stay healthy and safe. The Methodist Center for Sports Medicine at West Houston partners with area sports organizations to assist with orthopedic and sports medicine needs. Here, local orthopedic surgeons and sports medicine physicians answer questions common to student athletes and their parents.
Methodist West Houston Hospital is located at 1-10 and Barker Cypress. For information, call 832-522-BONE (2663) or visit www.methodistwesthouston.com.
Experts: Dr. Winfield Campbell, Dr. Tim Sprockel, Dr. Marc Feldman and Dr. Christopher Smith.
Q: What are the health benefits for kids who participate in sports?
With childhood obesity, diabetes and blood pressure on the rise, it is more important than ever for kids to get daily exercise. Being part of a team is great for their health, social skills and self-esteem, and individual sports give athletes a sense of accomplishment through goal setting.
Q: How can my child best prepare for returning to school sports?
It is good for student athletes to take a break from their sport in the summer to let their bodies rest and recover. However, students who become out of shape in the summer are more prone to injury upon returning to fall sports. We advise all kids to eat a healthy diet and stay active year round. While resting from their regular sport, athletes can stay in shape through activities like swimming, biking or jogging.
Q: What types of injuries are common in student athletes this time of year?
During the summer months, we tend to see injuries related to non-organized sports, overuse injuries in year-round sports, and as temperatures rise, dehydration and heat exhaustion.
Q: What is the best defense against heat exhaustion?
We recommend hydrating every 20 minutes during a workout, alternating between water and a sports drink to replace sodium lost through sweat. If you experience signs of overheating (such as dizziness, fainting or feeling overly hot sometimes followed by chills), it is important to seek medical attention right away. You may be able to reduce your body temperature with an ice pack on the back of your neck or in your armpits.
Q: I have heard that girls are at greater risk for certain injuries than boys. Is this true?
We are seeing more young females with injuries, and there are certain injuries that girls seem to be more prone to. Some studies show that girls are five to 10 times more likely to rupture an ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) than boys who are playing the same sport.
Q: How do you treat sports injuries?
As physicians, our job is to determine the proper diagnosis and treatment, then to allow students to continue sports participation whenever possible and as long as it is safe. We can accomplish this through physical therapy, activity modification and even employing cross training that allows the athlete to stay in shape while healing. With more serious injuries such as concussions, broken bones or torn ligaments, returning to play too soon can be dangerous. In these cases complete symptom resolution is imperative, and proper “return to play” protocol should be strictly observed.
Q: Explain the different roles that the athletic trainers, team doctors and physical therapists play in the life of a student athlete.
We are all part of the sports medicine team. Trainers ensure playing fields and training rooms are in good shape, work to prevent injuries, and are the first to treat injuries. As physicians, we help with serious or more complicated injuries and other health concerns. Physical therapists have special tools and expertise to rehabilitate injured athletes.
Q: What do I do if my child suffers a concussion?
Concussions are not as common as we might think, but the media exposure has certainly caught our attention. Symptoms include headache, dizziness, nausea, blurred vision, feeling faint and sensitivity to light and sound. An athlete experiencing any of these symptoms should talk to his or her trainer or coach, stop playing immediately, and see a physician as soon as possible.
Q: Tell me about the sports medicine services offered at Methodist West Houston Hospital.
Methodist West Houston provides comprehensive orthopedic and sports medicine care at a location convenient to the community. Board-certified orthopedists and experienced physical therapists are onsite and available five days a week. Through the Methodist Concussion Center, we offer imPACT testing, a useful tool for establishing baseline data, so that in the event a student suffers a concussion, we have comparative data to assist with post-concussion care. We focus on current and future athletic goals with a treatment program aimed at returning each patient to action as soon as possible.
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