Live Well Cincy: Sports Medicine

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Live Well Cincy: Sports Medicine





ith the summer season quickly approaching, families can look forward to more time spent outside, swimming at the pool and enjoying the warm sunny days. For kids, summer means no school, more free time and a lot of activity. From summer camps to summer sports leagues, kids are constantly running around. But with this heightened amount of activity, it only heightens the chance for injury. “Summertime is definitely our busiest time of year,” says Dr. Brian Grawe of UC Health. Grawe focuses on sports medicine and specifically shoulder reconstruction. He w w w.

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Live Well Cincy: Sports Medicine currently serves as the team physician for many high schools in the Cincinnati region and is the head team physician for FC Cincinnati. During the summertime, Grawe says that the most common injuries he finds relate to muscle or bone fracture. “The most common injuries I see have to do with the strain of muscles and tendons,” says Grawe. “Also, we see a lot of fractures in the wrist and arm.” Dr. Steve Hamilton of Beacon Orthopaedics also often sees those types of injuries during the summer. Hamilton is an orthopedic surgeon and has completed a sports medicine fellowship. He sees children on a daily basis, with patients ranging from grade school to high school students. “We see a lot of broken bones and wrists, whether that is from trampolines or skateboarding,” says Hamilton. Hamilton and Grawe both say that over the years they have seen an increase in injuries occurring from the overuse of specific muscles, whether it’s a torn ligament or sprained muscle. Both agree that this has stemmed from the fact that children


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“Sports no longer last one season, but last all year long and the training is intense.” —Dr. Edward Marcheschi of Mercy Health

are playing more organized activities and focusing solely on one sport. “They are working the same muscles over and over again,” says Grawe. Hamilton notes that children are also playing at more intense levels. “Kids aren’t just playing a couple sports a couple times a week,” says Hamilton. “They are playing the same sport on a daily basis and even year-round.”

Dr. Edward Marcheschi of Mercy Health agrees that the overuse of specific muscles or tendons is problematic when it comes to children’s development. Marcheschi is a sports medicine specialist and he points to the intensity of training that kids are now undergoing in sports as the cause of this problem. “Sports are becoming so specialized,” says Marcheschi. “Sports no longer last one season, but last all year long and the training is intense.”” As a track athlete in college, Hamilton notes that his team always took one day off to do a non-contact activity like swimming. He believes that this is extremely important for kids who are still developing and growing. All three physicians suggest that parents make sure to mix up their child’s activities and that they make sure to have down time with plenty of sleep. “Kids actually need to have down time,” says Hamilton. “The body needs recovery time. For example, [parents] should stress the importance of pitch count if their child plays baseball so that they don’t overwork their arm.” Not only do children need downtime to relax their body, but these physicians suggest that parents ensure that their children have a healthy diet, full of protein with fruits and vegetables. “Make sure your children are eating lots of lean proteins like chicken,” says Grawe. “Try and avoid simple carbohydrates such as processed breads that contain a lot of sugar.” However, Grawe does suggest that the night before a game or tournament to serve complex carbohydrates like multigrain pasta that will give the body energy the

next day. Diet can play a crucial role in the amount of energy children sustain during activity and can actually impact their likeliness for injury. “Diet plays a role in energ y during sports,” says Hamilton. “It helps prepare them for sustained energy through the whole game or tournament. With the obesity epidemic, diet also plays a role in injury. Overweight children are more likely to experience injury from sports because the contact on the body affects them more.” During the hot summer days, fluids are increasingly important. All three physicians advise parents to avoid serving their children sugary soft drinks. While water is the most important fluid to replenish during activity, sports drinks also help to replenish electrolytes. The drinks’ small amount of sugar in them allows the body to hydrate faster. “When we sweat, we lose water and salt, which is why our sweat is kind of salty,” says Marcheschi. “The downside of rehydrating with just water is that you may dilute the salt in your body. You need some form of

electrolytes in addition to water for intense exercise.” This is especially important for teenagers or endurance athletes undergoing intensive exercise lasting hours at a time, notes Marcheschi. All physicians understand the nerves that come when parents put their children at an increased risk for injury when playing sports, contact or not. However, besides diet and sleep, there are things that parents can do so that their children are safe during activity. One of the most important things is that children have the proper equipment. “Whether it is having the right mouth guard that fits or the correct fitting helmet, this helps children stay safe while they are actually out there playing,” says Grawe. This protects your children, but it also protects the other children on the field, particularly when it comes to concussions. All three physicians have spent time researching concussions. The doctors at the University of Cincinnati have developed a game for athletes to practice their peripheral vision, which Grawe says has

a large impact with concussions. “Nowadays, children are all sitting on their phones and have developed tunnel vision,” says Grawe. Mercy Health also works with athletes by performing a baseline neurocognitive test (ImPACT) before a head injury to help monitor recovery of a concussion. This helps physicians know when athletes are back to normal. Marcheschi stresses the importance of technique and education with respect to concussion prevention and management. “Ensuring the use of proper techniques and skills when playing a sport is key for athletes, especially when it comes to prevention of concussion,” says Marcheschi. “Concussion will always be a risk of playing any sport and early recognition and detection of this injury is vital.” Marcheschi suggests that parents use the app PAR for concussion recognition and response. It allows one to complete an assessment of symptoms. The results can help predict the likelihood of a concussion and direct you to seek treatment. n

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