Parents of Student Athletes

Trends in Sports Medicine for Kids

A new school year has started. Soon your boys and girls will be playing sports. A parent’s job is to make sure each child is physically ready for demanding activities that occasionally result in injury. Today new trends in sports physicals or sports medicine exist.

“Concussions, cardiovascular health and ACL injury prevention are currently hot topics in sports medicine and can be discussed at the time of a physical,” says Dr. Alexander Schoofs M.D., Sports Medicine Physician for Mosaic Life Care. “Many school districts and organizations are mandating a concussion action plan and protocol and oftentimes this information is disseminated and discussed at the time of the sports exam.  Any athlete with ‘red flag’ symptoms of chest pain, shortness of breath or a history of passing out with exercise/activity may warrant further specific cardiovascular testing.”

More kids participating in athletics, especially females, have increased the number of knee ACL injuries.  An ACL prevention program focusing on muscular imbalances, core strengthening and general coordination/balance may help prevent such injury.

Parents taking their children for a first time sports physical should be aware of what details are involved.

“Parents or guardians should be the ones who fill out the athlete’s medical information,” Schoofs says.  “Athletes fill out this detailed questionnaire, and may leave out vital information or not be able to clarify questions that arise at the time of the physical.  Being as detailed as possible with past medical history, family history, medications or any current symptoms the athlete may be experiencing is important.  This information can prove invaluable for the examining physician at the time of the physical.”

Occasionally red flags are identified; so don’t be surprised if further testing or a referral to a specialist is required.  A son or daughters’ complicated past medical history may be advisable to seeing your primary care physician exclusively for their sports exam to avoid repeat testing or delays.

“It is of utmost importance for an athlete to disclose any unreported injuries, including head injuries or any other new symptoms that they may be experiencing,” Schoofs says. “The purpose of this exam is not to withhold athletes for athletic participation, but simply to identify those athletes who may require additional testing or referral before final clearance can be granted.”

Your doctor should know if your medical condition, medications and injury history are compatible with your child’s sport or activity.

For example, the physical demands of a football player versus a golfer are quite different. Furthermore, knowing what sport an athlete participates in allows us to give sport-specific injury prevention education at the time of the visit.

The safety of each child is important in any sport. Visit the doctor to make sure they are physically ready to compete.

For more information about your child’s sports medicine, contact MyMosaicLifeCare.org.