Posts Tagged ‘atlanta falcons’

Emory Sports Medicine Puts Former Falcons Player Back in the Game After Jones Fracture

Atlanta Falcons Jones Fracture Sports MedicineA couple of years ago, a young recruit of the Atlanta Falcons football team was running during practice when his cleat got caught in the turf, a misstep that led to him both twisting and breaking his foot. The injury turned out to be what’s known as a “Jones fracture,” which is a very specific break in one of the bones in the midportion of the foot.

The Falcons recruit went out of state for surgery to insert a screw in his foot that would secure the bone while it healed, but his injury never healed properly, and on the first day of football practice the next year, he rebroke his foot. This time, he decided to find a surgeon in the Atlanta area and was referred to Dr. Sam Labib, director of the foot and ankle service at the Emory Sports Medicine Center.

During his time practicing at Emory, Dr. Labib has become very familiar with the Jones fracture. “As it turned out, at Emory, we had done extensive anatomic research on this particular type of injury and knew the ideal location for the screw,” he says. “When he came in for surgery, we removed the screw, cleaned up the bone, and replaced the screw in a better, more stable area.”

“Because we are a research environment as well as a surgical practice, we have a wealth of information and experience to bring to bear on injuries such as the Jones fracture,” Dr. Labib says. “Doing anatomic research is like drawing a map for surgery. With practice, we can effectively calculate the path of the screw and place it in the most solid position. Our patients benefit from this research and expertise.”

According to Dr. Labib, a Jones fracture typically takes a minimum of three months to heal. In the football player’s case, the fracture healed beautifully after his surgery at Emory, and he was back to training just three months later.

Have you had foot surgery, or would you like to learn more about foot surgery at Emory? We welcome your questions and feedback for Dr. Labib in the comments section below.

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Using Biomechanics & Motion Analysis to Enhance Athletic Performance & Reduce Injuries

For those people who participate in competitive sports, athletic injury and related pain are not uncommon. Even without being an athlete yourself, you’re likely no stranger to some of the worst injuries that have been sustained by professional athletes. Mary Pierce and her torn ACL, Willis McGahee’s broken leg post-collision on the field, or Tony Saunder’s (Devil Rays’ pitcher) breaking his arm while throwing a pitch are just a few noteworthy examples. More recently, we saw Peyton Manning sidelined with a neck injury that kept him from participating in this year’s NFL season.

It is injuries like these and research being conducted in the world of biomechanics that is helping today’s athletes make strides in improving their form and physical durability.

Research and evaluation into biomechanics has resulted in new technology that allows experts to capture the movements of an athlete and analyze those movements via specialized software. The takeaways from the analysis are used to help educate and train athletes to move in the most effective and efficient ways to reduce injury and maximize outcomes. While much of this technology is emerging from colleges and universities around the U.S. and in turn, helping keep college athletes operating at peak performance, the same technology is also being used by professional athletes and their trainers.

As Jeff Fish, director of athletic performance for the Atlanta Falcons explains in a recent article covering biomechanics, “You have to look at the movement. It’s so much bigger than just is this player strong, is this player fast.” And with the help of Emory’s Dr. Spero G. Karas, head team physician for the Falcons, the team has one of the lowest injury rates in the NFL.

To help keep injury rates low and enhance performance among the Falcons, a fairly scientific process is in place. More than once a year, each player from the Falcons goes through “functional movement screening,” during which their strengths and weaknesses from a biomechanical movement standpoint are evaluated and they are each given a healthy motion score. After each player’s risk factors are evaluated, a customized plan is developed for each of them. Plan success is determined based on changes in the healthy motion score gleaned from the functional movement screenings.

Dr. Spero Karas

Dr. Spero Karas

Furthermore, now when a Falcons player is injured, that healthy motion score provides a baseline for team physicians such as Dr. Spero Karas to use to measure improvement in the athlete’s range of motion after injury and rehabilitation.

As Dr. Karas explains, “I can use that objective data that was generated before the athlete was injured to help me evaluate the athlete at the time of return to play.”

These are some pretty amazing developments for the athletic and medical worlds. For years, we’ve seen players watch their own game footage/tapes for insight into how they can better execute each play on the field. Now, with the help of biomechanics, functional movement screenings, and experts such as Dr. Spero Karas, those same players can learn how to fine tune their movements before taking the field to ensure the outcomes once there are the best they can be.

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Not Just on the Sidelines: Emory Sports Medicine Doctors Work with the Atlanta Falcons On & Off the Field

Dr. Spero Karas Atlanta Falcons Team Doctor

Source: Atlanta Falcons Website

The Atlanta Falcons recently contracted Emory Sports Medicine physicians to help manage the team’s sports medicine needs. I am honored to now serve as the Falcons’ head team physician; my colleague, Dr. Jeff Webb, is the assistant team physician. Now that football season is finally upon us, we’re staying busy!

We’re excited to be bringing expert care to the Falcons in a three-prong approach that includes:

  • Athletic performance improvement – strength training and conditioning, biomechanical corrections, and injury prevention through corrective exercises and through training that improves flexibility, flexibility, posture, gait, and overall core strength and strength and balance.
  • Athletic training – the care and prevention of injuries through treatment, taping and orthotics, bracing, heat, ultrasound, muscle stimulation and similar methods.
  • Sports medicine – surgical and medical care of injuries and illnesses

As head team physician, I direct the sports medicine prong, working closely with Dr. Webb and drawing on all the resources of Emory Sports Medicine and Emory Healthcare so that, whatever the problem, I can rely on the finest specialists in the field. The Falcons play really hard and end up with many interesting injuries and illnesses. It’s my job to make sure that the Falcons are wrapped in a complete blanket of world-class care. Emory Sports Medicine offers comprehensive services and renowned experts who can cater to the needs of each player and his specific injury.

As you can see, our work will extend far beyond the sidelines of the games, but Dr. Webb and I will also be there on the sidelines for every game, assessing injuries, and providing care.

I’m really looking forward to being at the games with the Falcons, though it does require me to separate the football fan in me from the physician, taking a more analytic approach to the game. When the Falcons score a touchdown, I’ll be focused not on the elation of the moment or the guy who brought it into the end zone, but on all eleven guys who just contributed to that score. I’ll make sure they’re properly hydrated and that there are no issues arising from their ongoing injuries. I have to be more aware of the medical situation rather than getting too caught up in the excitement of the game.

I’m very proud to be the Falcons’ head team physician, but ultimately my job is to provide the best, most competent care in order to insure the health and safety of each athlete. I’ll save my own celebrating for later, when the job is done.

See how Dr. Karas and the team at Emory Sports Medicine is working with the Atlanta Falcons in this short video, “Meeting the New Team Physician,” on the Atlanta Falcons website.

About Dr. Spero Karas

Dr. Karas is the Director of the Orthopaedic Sports Medicine Fellowship Program and an Associate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at Emory University. His specialties include sports medicine, surgery of the shoulder and knee, and arthroscopic surgery. He is Board Certified in Orthopaedic Surgery, with a subspecialty certification in Orthopaedic Sports Medicine. He currently serves as team physician for the Atlanta Falcons, Georgia Tech Baseball and Lakeside High School, as well as a consulting team physician for Emory University, Ogelthorpe University, Perimeter College, Oglethorpe University, Perimeter College, and Georgia Tech athletics. He cares for patients and athletes of all levels: professional, collegiate, scholastic, and recreational.