Posts Tagged ‘youth sport injury’

Young Hockey Player Successfully Rebounds After Surgery

youth sports hockey playerRyan can’t remember life before hockey. He was two years old when he donned his first pair of skates, and only three years old when he began flying around ice rinks working on his slapshot. Ryan loves the game and can’t get enough of it. Friends and family aren’t surprised, though. Dad was a former goaltender in the National Hockey League and a long-standing professional hockey coach. Hockey is in Ryan’s blood.

Ryan’s passion for the sport has grown over the years, and so has his time on the ice. He got his start playing on local teams, practicing a few hours each week. He progressed to a more serious traveling squad at the age of 10. By 14, Ryan was competing for Thunder Hockey Club, a tier I AAA-level organization that spent every other weekend of the long season (August through April) on the road.

During one of those weekend games in Nashville, Ryan slid across the ice and landed hard on his shoulder. He felt quite a bit of pain and couldn’t move his arm normally. He shrugged it off thinking it wasn’t anything a little ibuprofen and a good night’s sleep couldn’t fix. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case.

Ryan continued to have a great deal of pain and swelling the next day, so he and his mom left the tournament early and went straight to the emergency room close to his Duluth home. An MRI revealed that Ryan had torn a tendon and bone in his shoulder. Surgery was his only option.

“The news was very shocking,” said Jennifer, Ryan’s mother. “We assumed his shoulder would be fine and had no idea how serious it was.”

Within a few days of the accident, Dr. Kyle Hammond, an orthopedic surgeon with Emory Sports Medicine Center, performed a subscapularis tendon avulsion repair. The procedure to fix the largest and strongest of the four rotator cuff muscles only took about two hours at Emory’s outpatient surgery center in Dunwoody.

“I was nervous before the surgery,” said Ryan. “I was worried that I might not be able to play as well after it, but Dr. Hammond was really confident. He kept reassuring me there was no reason I wouldn’t have a good result.”

And Ryan did have excellent results. The operation went smoothly and he was back at home the same day, planning his return to hockey.

“I treat a lot of young athletes,” said Dr. Hammond. “Their musculoskeletal systems are unique and require special attention because, like Ryan, they may still have open growth plates, but our entire Emory team understands the youth athlete and the intricacies that come with creating an appropriate treatment plan. After meeting Ryan and his family and evaluating his injury, I didn’t see anything standing in the way of a successful recovery for Ryan.”

After surgery, Ryan went through six months of physical therapy to restore mobility in his arm and shoulder. He admitted to being a little apprehensive before stepping on the ice again, but said after a week or two, he didn’t really give his shoulder any more thought.

Jennifer was so pleased with Ryan’s results that she called on Dr. Hammond again when her older son (another hockey protégé) had an injury the following year. After another successful surgery, he too got back in the game quickly, safely, and went on to his collegiate hockey career.

Today, Ryan is 17 years old. He still loves hockey and is counting on it to open some doors for him.

“I’m not sure where I’ll end up,” said Ryan. “All I know is that I really want to play college hockey. This coming season will help determine where.”

About Emory Sports Medicine Center

For more information about Emory Sports Medicine Center, visit or call 404-778-3350.

About Dr. Hammond

Dr. Kyle HammondKyle Hammond, MD, is an orthopaedic surgeon at Emory Sports Medicine Center. He is the head orthopaedic surgeon for the Atlanta Hawks and head team physician for the Atlanta Falcons. He also serves as a team physician for the Atlanta Braves, Georgia Tech, Emory University, and several metro Atlanta high school athletic programs. Dr. Hammond practices at the Brookhaven, Johns Creek and Smyrna locations of Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center.

How Much is Too Much in a Youth Sport?

Research shows sports specialization is harming younger children, and outweighs any benefit he or she might derive from laser-like focus on one youth sport.Is your child athlete playing only one youth sport, and if so, is he or she doing it year-round, with little or no monitoring about over using certain muscles?

Research shows this kind of sports specialization is harming your younger children, and greatly outweighs any benefit he or she might derive from laser-like focus on one sport.

The Emory Sports Medicine Center, a leader in advanced treatments for patients with orthopaedic and sports-related injuries, has been on the cutting edge of that research.

Dr. Neeru Jayanthi, M.D., of the Emory Sports Medicine Center, is a leading expert on youth sports health and is an ardent believer in kids playing organized sports. However, he believes even stronger in a simpler plan: Kids need to play. Period. Not play soccer, per se. Or baseball. Or even tennis, which is his specialty. But just play and play multiple sports.

While Jayanthi, is not at all urging parents to steer their children away from organized teams sports, his nationally acclaimed study on youth sport injuries show playing is more important to the child than playing a sport, and that once sports become the primary way a child plays, parents should monitor the number of hours the child spends on any one sport.

“With travel leagues and kid playing one sport 10 to 12 months a year, we’re seeing more over-use injuries than we would have a generation ago,” Dr. Jayanthi said. “Everyone wants the best for their child, but the best is never to let them spend hours a day, every day, doing the same activity.”

In America, particularly in warmer weather states, baseball is probably where there is more specialization, year-round focus and over-use injuries. It has gotten so bad, particularly with pitchers, that USA Baseball and Major League Baseball have teamed up to promote an educational program that urges restraint.

“When baseball is telling young baseball players to take it easy, it helps validate what we are saying,” Dr. Jayanthi said.

Dr. Jayanthi and colleagues researched 1,200 young athletes and found that kids should not spend more hours per week than his or her age playing sports. Younger children are developmentally immature and are less able to tolerate physical stress. Also, the study suggests that kids should not spend more than twice as much time playing organized sports as they do in unorganized free play.

“I love organized sports and love to see athlete’s at their best,” he said. “And that takes a lot of hard work and dedication. I get that. I believe in it. But the two concepts are not mutually exclusive to each other. In fact, I believe they go hand in hand. Want what’s best for your child, both developmentally and athletically? Follow these guidelines.”

Dr. Jayanthi leads Emory’s Tennis Medicine program and is considered one of the country’s leading experts on youth sports health, injuries, and sports training patterns, as well as an international leader in tennis medicine. He is currently the President of the International Society for Tennis Medicine and Science (STMS) and a certified USPTA teaching professional.

About Emory Sports Medicine Center

At the Emory Sports Medicine Center, our experts specialize in advanced procedures to treat and repair a wide range of sports related injuries. Recently recognized as one of the nation’s TOP 50 orthopaedics programs, Emory Orthopaedics, Sports and Spine has 6 convenient locations across metro Atlanta, as well as 6 physical therapy locations. To make an appointment to see one of our Emory sports medicine specialists, please call 404-778-3350 or complete our online appointment request form.

About Dr. Jayanthi

jayanthi-neeru-aDr. Jayanthi leads Emory’s Tennis Medicine program and is considered one of the country’s leading experts on youth sports health, injuries, and sports training patterns, as well as an international leader in tennis medicine. He is currently the President of the International Society for Tennis Medicine and Science (STMS) and a certified USPTA teaching professional. He has also been a volunteer ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) physician for 15 years, serves as a medical advisor for the WTA (Woman’s Tennis Association) Player Development Panel, and is on the commission for the International Tennis Performance Association (ITPA). He has been selected to the board of directors for the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM) twice, and serves as a Consultant for the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) Council on Sports Medicine and Fitness, Aspen Institute Sport and Society Program, and Mom’s Team. Dr. Jayanthi has won multiple AMSSM Foundation Research Grants for his collaborative research on early sports specialized training and overuse injury in young athletes. He previously was the medical director of primary care sports medicine at Loyola University Chicago for 12 years where he was voted a “Top Doctor” in the Chicagoland Suburbs prior to being recruited to Emory.