Watch the panel presentation, The Well-Balanced Athlete, delivered by ONS physicians at Byram Hills High School in Armonk, NY on February 13, 2018. Sports medicine experts Dr. Marc Kowalsky and Dr. Demetris Delos were joined by sports psychologist Dr. Alex Diaz, to address such issues as injury prevention, the dangers of sports specialization, sleep and nutritional requirements, and the importance of mindfulness training. The school’s television station recorded the 90-minute program. If you would like to see the presentation live, the panel will be addressing the Briarcliff Manor school district coaches, parents and students at the Briarcliff Middle School Auditorium on Tuesday, March 13 beginning at 7:00 pm. There will be time for Q & A at the end of the presentation. You can also view the PowerPoint presentations given by Dr. Delos and Dr. Kowalsky.
SURGE IN ELBOW AND SHOULDER INJURIES FOR YOUTH INVOLVED IN THROWING ACTIVITIES.
For youth involved in repetitive throwing activities, there is an epidemic of elbow and shoulder injuries, usually due to overuse, poor training, improper throwing mechanics, and fatigue, according to sports medicine physician, Demetris Delos, MD, who specializes in shoulder and knee conditions.
The dreaded injury to the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) is usually caused by excessive pitching. If the UCL is injured, it can sometimes be difficult to repair or rehabilitate and may require the so-called Tommy John procedure in order to return to competitive pitching. The surgery is named after Tommy John, the first baseball pitcher to undergo successful UCL reconstruction surgery in the 1970’s.
Other common throwing-related injuries include Little League shoulder, which occurs when the growth plate of the humerus (arm bone) becomes inflamed by the excessive forces produced by repetitive throwing. Similarly, Little League elbow involves injury to the growth plate along the inner portion of the elbow.
In addition to acute injuries, repetitive activities such as throwing can lead to physical changes in the development of growing bones and joints. Significant amounts of pitching during adolescence can change the rotation and shape of the shoulder which may leave the player vulnerable to shoulder injury and arthritis in adulthood.
Studies show that children and adolescents who pitch competitively for more than 8 months in a year are the most prone to injury. Throwing more than 80 pitches per game, a fastball that consistently exceeds 85 mph, or pitching while fatigued are also risk factors for injury.
According to one study, pitchers who pitched more than 100 innings in a calendar year were 3.5 times more likely to sustain serious injuries requiring elbow or shoulder surgery or retire due to the injury. This is why USA Baseball and Major League Baseball now recommend that youth pitchers of all ages and abilities take a minimum four month break from overhead throwing, with at least two months off consecutively.
However, athletes and their parents should be reassured that numerous studies have shown that kids who are exposed to a range of sports that utilize different muscle groups and mechanical skills have greater overall success in athletics than those who specialize early on. In addition, they are less prone to injury and burnout than those who focus on a single sport exclusively.
THE ORTHO ACCESS PROGRAM AT ONS OFFERS AN ADDED LEVEL OF SAFETY TO YOUNG ATHLETES WHO ARE INJURED ON THE FIELD.
If you missed yesterday’s Well column in The New York Times, it focused on the lack of national safety standards to protect student athletes from crippling or fatal injuries. Individual states and the schools within them, for the most part, haven’t yet adopted injury prevention and treatment policies or procedures for children who play organized or league sports either. The responsibility is all too often left to coaches and parents to assess what measures to take when a young athlete is injured and when they can return to play. 500 student athletes died last year due to poor decisions made immediately following injury, according to the article. The ORTHO ACCESS program at ONS is designed to add an extra layer of medical support and injury prevention education for coaches, athletes, and parents. During the first critical moments after a player is hurt, ONS ORTHO ACCESS sports medicine physicians helps to determine the best immediate course of action to take. Read more.
DID YOU KNOW THAT FEMALE ATHLETES ARE AS MUCH AS TEN TIMES MORE LIKELY TO SUFFER AN ACL INJURY THAN THEIR MALE COUNTERPARTS?
Differences in pelvis width, the size of the ACL and the intercondylar notch (where the ACL crosses the knee joint), are all thought to play a role. What’s more, the upper part of a female’s shin bone at the joint is much shorter and more rounded than a male’s, which creates a greater laxity in the joint. Women also tend to have an inward angle to their knees, otherwise known as knocked knees, which places more stress across the outer knee joint and ligaments, particularly when it comes to sudden or extreme movements, such as an abrupt change in direction or pivot. Women also move differently than men. For instance, they tend to land from a jump with their knees in a somewhat straight position, pulling on the quadriceps rather than the hamstrings. Because of this, the force of the impact is transferred to the knee, creating a high risk for an ACL rupture. Men, on the other hand, are better able to absorb the impact because they tend to land with bent knees.
For these reasons, it is crucial for female athletes of all ages to modify their natural biomechanics through neuromuscular training programs that can teach them better ways to move their bodies and protect their knees, said orthopedic surgeon Katie Vadasdi, MD, who heads the Women’s Sports Medicine Center at ONS. “Through neuromuscular training programs, we can help female athletes significantly reduce the risk of ACL ruptures by developing balance between the quadriceps and hamstrings and improving the landing biomechanics with more bent knees and hips to avoid a knock-kneed position on impact.”
Preventing ACL injuries has both near and long term benefits so the sooner you get started with this kind of a conditioning program the better. Studies indicate that there is a tenfold increase in the incidence of osteoarthritis in the knees of women who suffered an ACL injury at some point in their lives. Moreover, injuries that were incurred during youth seem to result in the onset of osteoarthritic symptoms at a much earlier age in adulthood.
Last Thursday’s talk on “Maximizing Your Child’s Athletic Potential” was a success. A big thank you goes out to the Junior League of Greenwich for making it possible with their focus on improving the community and empowering others to further health and education! Ultimately they brought together the perfect combination of experts to inform the public about the youth and the sports they love.
Dr. Delos, of ONS and Greenwich Hospital, was a panel speaker at this event. He specializes in sports medicine and arthroscopic treatment of knee and shoulder disorders. Before ONS, Dr. Delos was the Assistant NFL Team Physician for the New York Giants and was team physician for a number of local high school and college athletes.
Other panel members consisted of Andy Barr, Director of Performance and Rehab for the New York Knicks, Mubarak “Bar” Malik, Head of Strength and Conditioning for the New York Knicks, and Allan Houston, one of NBA’s all-time greatest long range shooters and Olympic gold medalist, as the moderator. Each participant reinforced the importance of parents taking interest in the development of their young athlete and properly guiding them to the path of success. Parents attending this event were very attentive, and came prepared with questions.
Conversations covered the fundamental topics, like proper sleep habits and nutrition. For example, a young athlete’s nutrition should increase in relation to the amount of activity they experience daily. This may be common knowledge to an adult but for an adolescent, proper amounts of sleep and good nutrition that balances the amount of activity should be added to their routine.
Aside from the basic topics of discussion, there was a myth to be busted as well; to find out the details of the myth and for more information about the questions that were asked at the event, please read the article written by the Greenwich Freepress.
Join the Junior League of Greenwich and the Greenwich Library for a discussion moderated by two-time NBA all-star Allan Houston and featuring a panel of experts from the NBA and NFL on the prevention of adolescent sports injuries. Former Knicks star and Greenwich resident Allan Houston is one of the NBA’s all-time greatest long range shooters, an Olympic gold medalist, current Assistant General Manager of the NY Knicks and spokesperson for the National Fatherhood Initiative.
Panelists include Andy Barr – Director of Performance and Rehab for the New York Knicks, Mubarak Malik – Head of Strength and Conditioning for the New York Knicks and Dr. Demetris Delos – orthopedic surgeon at ONS (Greenwich Hospital) and formerly of the NY Giants.
The Junior League of Greenwich and the Greenwich Library aim to educate parents about helping their kids reach their full physical and athletic potential. Admission is free but seats must be reserved online at www.greenwichlibrary.org.