Caring for Young Athletes: The Importance of Pediatric Specialists
Every parent of a young athlete wants their child to participate in the sport they love and be as successful as possible. If that young athlete has an injury, going to specialists who care for professional athletes can seem like a good idea, but care for adolescent athletes isn’t the same as for adults. Pediatric specialists are experts in young bodies, and seeking care from pediatric specialists is important for kids to heal fully and get back to playing the sport they love.
One of the first conversations I have with new patient families is a discussion of how young athletes are different from adults – the differences in body size and strength, ‘weak spots’ in the musculoskeletal chain, how the developing brain learns and adapts, and how growth affects both injury and recovery.
It’s crucial to remember that children are not small adults. Our team of pediatric sports medicine experts are trained first as pediatricians and second as sports medicine doctors. We are experts in the care of children and adolescents, but we also have specialty training in issues affecting physical activity and sports. We have expertise in the young skeleton, movement development, the risk for injury, and holistic care of the young athlete.
We focus on the injury, pain, or issue affecting physical activity and sports while seeking to understand the other issues that influence the young athlete’s health. These make a difference in both injury risk and recovery and should not be ignored. We understand how nutrition, stress, and sleep affect injury, which is often overlooked. Our movement and mechanical evaluations target the growing body, and we use this in all evaluations.
The team we have at Cincinnati Children’s is optimized for the care of young athletes. In addition to our sports medicine expertise, our Sports Orthopedic Surgeons are known for outstanding surgical outcomes. Our Department of Radiology is known for its highly accurate imaging, and a commitment to making procedures safe by reducing radiation and making each child comfortable. We also partner with our Sports Physical Therapy colleagues, who are specialists in treating and motivating children and teenagers. Our Sports Physical Therapy program is internationally known for providing guidance on the outcomes that matter most to athletes, such as return to play after ACL reconstruction.
It is important that children and adolescents receive care by specialists for their age and development, so they can most effectively get back to what they love and reach their dreams. Our program is often asked to provide second opinions for young athletes, after initial consultation with an adult provider. We are comfortable with this and can give you the answers and guidance you seek. We can also do this quickly. It is our goal to see patients same or next day, if desired.
Your child or adolescent deserves his or her own sports medicine care, specialized for young athletes. Young athlete health and wellbeing is best served by a team of pediatric experts, like ours.
For more information or to make an appointment with one of our pediatric sports medicine experts, contact the Division of Sports Medicine.