Practicing multiple days during the week. Competing in tournaments on the weekend. Participating in rigorous training camps
and leagues in the off-season. Playing the same or multiple sports year round. Does this resemble your child’s sports schedule?
Youth sports are becoming more competitive at younger ages, often requiring participation beyond the normal season to make the cut and see more starting time during games. As the pressure to participate increases and youth sports become more “professional,”
your child’s risk for injury increases too. Sports are a great way to keep your child involved and active, but year-round practices for the same sport can lead to some health concerns as well, including stress fractures, ligament tears and musculoskeletal
Eric Chehab, MD, a NorthShore affiliated orthopaedic surgeon, offers some tips to help keep your kids active and injury-free:
For additional information about sports injuries, including sports-specific tip sheets, visit the Stop Sports Injuries website:
What do you to keep your kids active? How do you make sure they aren’t overdoing it?
Playing a sport, whether contact or not, puts you at increased risk for injury. This includes many of the activities
and sports kids and teens participate in during or after school. With any injury, especially head injuries, it’s important to know the difference between fact and fiction.
Elizabeth Pieroth, PsyD, ABPP, the Associate Director of NorthShore University HealthSystem’s Sports Concussion Program, helps distinguish
the facts from the fictions when it comes to concussion:
Have you ever suffered a concussion?
Levin, MD, Sports Medicine at NorthShore, has been a team physician with the US Rugby Team for ten years, acting as their head physician during the Rugby World Cup in France in 2007. He has travelled with the team all over Canada, England, Wales, France
and now Japan. He shares what it’s like to care for these daring athletes at the top of their game during a recent tournament in Japan.
We’re in Japan for the Pacific Cup, which includes teams like Canada and Tonga as well. We arrived in Nagoya, Japan after almost 20 hours of travel from Los Angeles. We played Tonga the night before
we left LA and lost in a tough game 18-9. Luckily there were no major injuries on either side, although it looked like the Tongan team had several play stoppages for apparent injuries. In reality, it seemed as though the Tongans were mainly cramping up due
to the physical game the US team played. Nonetheless we did lose a close game that we felt we were capable of winning.
Since I have been with USA Rugby I have gotten a bit of a reputation as a "rugby doc" and take care of many local and regional rugby players. I specialize in shoulders and knees and have operated on
many of these players with shoulder and knee injuries. It is particularly rewarding to see so many get back in the game after recovering from surgery or rehab and then continue to play at such a high level.
During a game, the most common injuries that I see in rugby players are laceration, muscle, ligament and tendon strain, tears, concussions and occasionally fractures. There are no timeouts in rugby.
As a physician I have to work fast, diagnose the problem and fix it quickly or the player must be substituted. If he is substituted then he can't return under the rules of the game, so there is a great deal of pressure to get the player back as quickly as
possible if medically cleared. If the player has any type of bleeding injury, I have 10 minutes to get it under control (i.e. suture it) or the player is not allowed to return. It’s fast-paced and intense. But I enjoy it.
I also really enjoy the camaraderie I have with the players. Rugby players are the toughest, purest, and most appreciative athletes I have had the pleasure to work with and treat.
The months of training have come to a close and you’ve crossed the finish line. Now what?
Carrie Jaworksi, MD, Director of Primary Care Sports Medicine and a physician at NorthShore, offers her insight on what to expect after the race and how to recover adequately to ensure that you are ready to race again another day:
Immediately After the Race : Once you cross that finish line there are a handful of things that you'll need to do to help your body recover. Eat something! It’s important to replenish the energy stores you depleted during the race. Initially,
it’s best to start with a sports drink and food that is easy to digest. If you can’t tolerate sports drinks, then take bananas, yogurt and pretzels to the finish line instead. Gradually work up to a high-carbohydrate post-race dinner to further assist you
in replenishing your energy stores.
Taking a cold bath and icing your muscles is recommended to help prevent muscle soreness but don’t do that immediately. It is more important to keep moving in that first 30 to 60 minutes. You'll be tired but try to resist the urge to sit; instead, take a
long walk back to your hotel or car. Your body will thank you for it later.
The Next Day: You ran for a long time and chances are you are you'll wake up sore the next day. To help ease your muscle pain, plan ahead and schedule a massage for the days following the race. It will certainly help to alleviate your soreness
and speed your recovery. Plan on being sore for a few days. Take it easy while you are recovering.
Post-Event Emotions: You may feel down after the race. Think about it: You’ve been training for this event, both physically and mentally for months, and now it’s over. The early recovery period will likely be the most difficult transition
because you won’t be running and will have more time to reflect on your experience. There are several ways you can combat this: 1) Plan to meet up with your running friends the Saturday after the race to discusses personal experiences with the race. 2) Combit
to a new goal whether it's another race or even just to keep up with a regular running routine once you recover. 3) Splurge on a treat for yourself, from a new pair of running shoes to that racing watch you’ve been eyeing. Whatever you do, enjoy your downtime
and get some much-needed rest.
Preparing for the Next Race: How long should you rest before training for the next race? While your break time depends on your own level of experience with distance running, it’s recommended that you give your body at least one day off per
mile before running your next distance race. This means the earliest you should race again after a marathon is almost a month. Everyone should plan on a reverse taper over the first three to four weeks post-marathon. The first week post-marathon should be
mainly rest for three days, with some gentle jogging and cross training to round out the end of the week. By the weekend, most of your muscle soreness should be gone, so a longer distance may be reasonable. Remember to go slow and keep it to an hour at most.
After the first week post-marathon, you can begin to build more mileage based on your level of experience. Be sure to keep some cross-training days on your schedule to keep your body strong and injury-free. Any persisting soreness or undue fatigue may be
your body’s way of telling you it needs more time to recover. Be sure to listen to your body and adjust your training, or see your physician as needed.
How did you feel after the race? What tips would offer to others?
Has watching the London games made you eager to start a new exercise routine? While your training schedule probably
won’t be as grueling, diving right into a new routine can be difficult. Beginning slow and identifying your workout goals is a great starting point.
Carrie Jaworski, MD, Sports Medicine physician at NorthShore, gives the following tips for starting a new exercise routine:
What weekly workout activities do you enjoy most? How do you stick with your routine?
Ready, set, go! You registered for the big race and now you’re all set to begin your training routine. Ramping
up your endurance can be easy when the temperatures are cool during daytime and nighttime hours. But what do you do about training when the temperature and heat index continue to rise?
While staying on schedule and continuing training is vital to your conditioning and mental preparation, when it’s hot outside it’s important to make some adjustments in your routine to avoid injury, dehydration and fatigue.
Carrie Jaworski, MD, sports medicine physician, offers the following tips for those training for endurance races this summer:
Are you currently training for a race or run? What do you do to beat the heat?
Does the heat put a cramp in your fitness routine? Join experts at NorthShore on
Saturday, June 16 from 8a.m. – 12:45p.m. for an educational morning at the Chicago Botanic Garden—complete with a healthy eating demonstration, work-out demonstration and panel discussions on skin care, heart health, and sports injury care and prevention.
Space is limited for this free event. Register today for
Total Care for the Athlete at Heart.