Posts Tagged ‘youth sports’

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.

Importance of Pre-Participation Sports Physicals for Student-Athletes

Children of all ages will benefit from participating in sports. Children can learn many life skills such as team work, time management, competition, conflict resolution as well help to improve social skills. While the benefits of exercising and participating in sports heavily outweigh the risks, it is very important to have every child undergo a pre – participation sports physical before beginning practice with that sport. Pre – participation exams are required for student-athletes who want to participate in middle school, high school or summer sports camps.

The pre-participation exam checks for the following:
• Identify any potential life-threatening conditions such as risk of sudden cardiac death.
• Evaluate athlete for conditions that may need treatment prior to participation.
• Identify any orthopedic conditions/concerns that may need physical therapy or other treatment prior to participation.
• Identify athletes who may be at higher risk for violence, substance abuse, STDs, depression, eating disorders, anemia, asthma, hypertension, etc.
• Evaluate history of concussion and determine if the student-athlete is still experiencing post-concussion symptoms if previously concussed.

Student athletes and their parents need to come to the physical prepared to open and honestly discuss all medical history. The doctors need all the information on the athlete’s medical history to be able to properly examine the athlete and clear him or her for participation in their sport or activity. This is not a time to try and hide past injuries or medical conditions.

Many schools perform pre- participation exams but if you would like a more thorough physical exam, visit your family’s personal physician or pediatrician. He or she may refer your child to a Sports Medicine specialists if he thinks the child needs further evaluation for orthopedic concerns or if the student has had a history of concussions.

Most student athletes are cleared for full participation in sports. Those who need more follow-up often times resume normal activities after ensuring they are cleared from all potential complications from participating in sports.

About Jeff Webb, MD

Jeff Webb, MD, is an assistant professor of orthopaedics at Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center. Dr. Webb started practicing at Emory in 2008 after completing a Fellowship in Primary Care Sports Medicine at the American Sports Medicine Institute in Birmingham, Alabama. He is board certified in pediatrics and sports medicine. He is a team physician for the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons, and serves as the primary care sports medicine and concussion specialist for the team. He is also a consulting team physician for several Atlanta area high schools, the Atlanta Dekalb International Olympic Training Center, Emory University, Oglethorpe University, Georgia Perimeter College, and many other club sports.

Dr. Webb sees patients of all ages and abilities with musculoskeletal problems, but specializes in the care of pediatric and adolescent patients. He works hard to get players “back in the game” safely and as quickly as possible. He is currently active in the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine and American Academy of Pediatrics professional societies and has given multiple lectures at national conferences as well as contributed to sports medicine text books.

About Emory Sports Medicine

The Emory Sports Medicine Center is a leader in advanced treatments for patients with orthopedic and sports-related injuries. From surgical sports medicine expertise to innovative therapy and athletic injury rehabilitation, our sports medicine physicians and specialists provide the most comprehensive treatment for athletic injuries in Atlanta and the state of Georgia. Constantly conducting research and developing new techniques, Emory sports medicine specialists are experienced in diagnosing and treating the full spectrum of sports injuries.

Our sports medicine patients range from professional athletes to those who enjoy active lifestyles and want the best possible outcomes and recovery from sports injuries. Our doctors are the sports medicine team physicians for the Atlanta Falcons and Georgia Tech and provide services for many additional professional, collegiate and recreational teams. Appointments for surgical second opinions or acute sports injuries are available within 48 hours. Call 404-778-7777 for an appointment

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Governor Deal Signs New Youth Concussion Bill

Governor Nathan Deal signed a youth concussion bill on Tuesday called the “Return to Play Act”.  This bill will place restrictions on when a young athlete can return to their sport after suffering a  head injury.  Emory Sports Medicine physician, Ken Mautner, MD was highly involved in helping to get the new legislation passed and was at the signing of the bill with Governor Deal.  Dr. Mautner is an expert in the area of sports concussions and is Co-chairman of the Georgia Concussion Coalition, a group whose sole intent is to promote education and awareness of youth concussion across Georgia.

This bill will help coaches, parents and players make the right decisions for their athletes.  The bill requires public and private schools to provide information to parents on concussions and establish certain policies for dealing with student head injuries. Under the law, any youth athlete who is suspected of having a concussions must be removed from play.  The athlete must then receive medical clearance from a health care provider trained in concussion management before he or she can return to play.

The Return to Play Act was written in such a way to implement basic protections and give schools flexibility to build their own programs depending on how much funding they can commit. Georgia joins 43 states with similar laws. Government estimates show hospitals treat some 173,000 traumatic brain injuries among youth that are connected to sports and recreation activities each year.

About Ken Mautner, MD
Ken Mautner, MD is an assistant professor n the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and the Department of Orthopedic Surgery. Dr. Mautner started practicing at Emory in 2004 after completing a fellowship in Primary Care Sports Medicine at the American Sports Medicine Institute in Birmingham, Alabama. He is board certified in PM&R with a subspecialty certification in Sports Medicine. Dr. Mautner currently serves as head team physician for Agnes Scott College and St. Pius High School and a team physician for Emory University Athletics. He is also a consulting physician for Georgia Tech Athletics, Neuro Tour, and several local high schools. He has focused his clinical interest on sports concussions, where he is regarded as a local and regional expert in the field. In 2005, he became one of the first doctors in Georgia to use office based neuropsychological testing to help determine return to play recommendations for athletes. He also is an expert in diagnostic and interventional musculoskeletal ultrasound and teaches both regional and national courses on how to perform office based ultrasound. He regularly performs Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) injections for patients with chronic tendinopathy. Dr. Mautner also specializes in the care of athletes with spine problems as well as hip and groin injuries.

About Emory Sports Medicine Center
The Emory Sports Medicine Center is a leader in advanced treatments for patients with orthopedic and sports-related injuries. From surgical sports medicine expertise to innovative therapy and athletic injury rehabilitation, our sports medicine physicians and specialists provide the most comprehensive treatment for athletic injuries in Atlanta and the state of Georgia. Constantly conducting research and developing new techniques, Emory sports medicine specialists are experienced in diagnosing and treating the full spectrum of sports injuries.

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