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RMHC CO Parent July 2010_RMHC Colorado Parent 6/15/10 9:25 AM Page 1

July 2010

Brought to you by Now part of all HealthONE hospitals: The Medical Center of Aurora, North Suburban Medical Center, Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Medical Center, Rose Medical Center, Sky Ridge Medical Center and Swedish Medical Center.

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From blown-out knees in 6-year-old soccer players to separated shoulders in Pee Wee quarterbacks to strained elbows in Little League pitchers, sports injuries among American youth are escalating nationwide. Ultra-fit Colorado is no stranger to the trend.

“As children are becoming more active in higher level sports at younger ages, it’s

Polousky, Surgical Director for the new Rocky

Mountain Youth Sports Medicine Institute. According to the Centers for Disease

Control, high school athletes alone account for an estimated 2 million injuries, 500,000 doctor visits and 30,000 hospitalizations annually. Meanwhile, the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons reports that >>> continues

becoming more of a problem,” notes Dr. John

To learn more about this and many other topics for children, go to

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3.5 million children 14 and under are treated for sports injuries each year – roughly half of them suffering from overuse injuries.

Among the most dangerous sports is football, with 920,000 kids landing in the emergency room or doctor’s office with concussions, ankle sprains, low-back injuries and heat stroke. Meanwhile, one recent study found a five-fold increase in serious shoulder and elbow injuries among youth baseball and softball players since 2000. When it comes to rates of serious injury, cheerleading ranks near the top, accounting for 16,000 ER visits annually and half the “catastrophic” accidents (leading to death or serious injury) among female youth athletes. Meanwhile, thousands of female soccer players (who are fourto-six times more prone to knee injuries than male counterparts) suffer torn anterior cruciate ligaments (ACLs) annually.

The good news: Alarmed by the rising numbers, surgeons came together in April to launch STOP Sports Injuries (, a national campaign aimed at educating parents and coaches on prevention strategies. Meanwhile, Colorado is becoming the hub of a burgeoning new specialty of pediatric sports medicine, with the May launch of the Rocky Mountain Youth Sports Medicine Institute. The center will provide comprehensive care for sports injury in youths, state-of- the-art nonoperative and surgical treatment services, sports-focused rehabilitation services and concussion care among other services. “It’s very unique,” says Polousky, one of only a handful of physicians nationwide with dual training in pediatric orthopedic surgery and sports medicine.

Institute Medical Director Dr. Brooke Pengel, a pediatrician with sub-specialty certification in sports medicine, says such specialized care is critical for youth athletes because, “Kids are not just mini-adults. There are injuries that happen in children that literally cannot happen in adults, because adults are done growing.” For instance, kids are particularly vulnerable to overuse injuries and fractures at their growth plates – areas of developing cartilage at the ends of the long bones (by adulthood, those plates have hardened into bone). And because kids’ bones heal so quickly, it’s critical they get proper diagnosis and treatment fast, before things heal incorrectly. While all sports inherently come with some risk, the American College of Sports Medicine estimates that 50 percent of injuries are preventable. Here’s how to stay safe:

 Get off the couch “Many of these injuries occur because kids are lounging by the pool all summer and then suddenly they are running five miles a day,” says Polousky. Ease into some sort of training now to assure you are ready for the heat, altitude and exertion when practice starts.

 Dress right and hydrate Heat-related illness is among the top three leading causes of death among youth athletes, according to Be sure your child is dressed in light-colored, breathable clothes, drinks 16 ounces of water or sports drink one hour before practice and drinks four-to-eight ounces of fluid every 20 minutes.

 Know the coach Studies show 62 percent of sports-related youth injuries occur during practice. Be sure your coach has an emergency plan and knows how to reach you.

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For more information on parenting, health tips and more, please visit or

Ask if the coach, or anyone else present at practice, knows first aid and CPR. And be sure he or she is aware of any pre-existing medical conditions your child might have.

 Have a pre-participation physical While most high school teams require them, many youth sports leagues do not. Get one anyway. “It’s really a baseline examination to make sure the kids don’t have any red flags, like undiagnosed asthma or a history of concussions or heart disease,” says Polousky.

 Don’t overtrain Too much training and not enough rest can lead to injury, fatigue and burnout. According to one study, 70 percent of kids drop out of youth sports by age 13, citing pressure from adults, coaches and parents. Pengel recommends setting aside at least a few months out of the year for the child to take a break from sports.” Even professional athletes have downtime,” she says. “Kids deserve a rest too.”

Meet the doctors

Brooke Pengel, MD, Medical

Director, Rocky Mountain Youth Sports Medicine Institute Dr. Pengel is a graduate of the University of Connecticut Medical School and completed her pediatric internship and residency and primary care sports medicine fellowship at the University of Colorado. She is board certified by the American Board of Pediatrics with an additional certificate of added qualification in sports medicine. Prior to joining the Rocky Mountain Youth Sports Medicine Institute she was Medical Director of the Sports Medicine Program at The Children’s Hospital in Denver. She has provided numerous



presentations and invited lectures on primary pediatric and adolescent sports injuries and is active in community service/outreach with local school systems.

John Polousky, MD, Surgical Director, Rocky Mountain Youth Sports Medicine Institute Dr. Polousky is a graduate of the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine and completed his residency at The Cleveland Clinic and his pediatric orthopedic fellowship at The Children’s Hospital in Denver. He is board certified by the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery with a subspecialty certification in orthopedic sports medicine. He completed additional post-residency training in complex limb reconstruction at the International Center for Limb Lengthening in Baltimore, MD and in sports medicine at the University of Colorado. He has published numerous articles and is currently a co-investigator with the JUPITOR Group, a multicenter prospective study on osteochrondritis dissecans treatment outcomes. Rocky Mountain Youth Sports Medicine Institute will be located in Centennial Medical Plaza at Dove Valley, 14100 Arapahoe Road — 720.979.0840.

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e W t a ith Us! r b e l e C Join us for the grand opening of Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children at Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Medical Center

Sunday, August 22nd Noon - 4:00 p.m. 19th and High Streets Fun activities and amazing entertainment for all!  Musical performances by Doctor Noize, Funkiphino, The Little League and Academy of Rock  Sports At Skydemonstrations Ridge Medical Center  Animal visitors from the Denver Zoo  Doll and teddy bear “hospital”  Photos to take and take home  Behind-the-scenes hospital area tours  Ambulance and helicopter tours  Special gifts for each child to take home At Sky Ridge Medical Center

PLUS lots of food, refreshments and more for the entire family!

AtSky Presbyterian St.Center Luke’s At Ridge Medical


Hosp italF orC

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Event updates and performance times are posted online. Call 303.839.6600 for more information.

Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children is also part of The Medical Center of Aurora, North Suburban Medical Center, Rose Medical Center, Sky Ridge Medical Center and Swedish Medical Center.

Colorado Parent Insert July 2010  

Kid's health information for parents in Denver, Colorado