The Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital has joined a coalition of organizations dedicated to preventing athletic overuse and trauma injuries in children. The Sports Trauma and Overuse Prevention (STOP) campaign was initiated by the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine to educate young athletes, parents, coaches, and healthcare providers about the rapid upsurge in youth sports injuries and the steps essential in reversing this alarming trend. “Lenox Hill orthopaedists are dedicated to the care of injured student athletes and are looking forward to the opportunity to participate in this public health initiative,” said Elliott Hershman, MD, Chairman of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claim that high school athletes alone account for approximately two million injuries, half a million doctor visits, and 30,000 hospitalizations annually. In addition, according to Marc Kowalsky, MD, an orthopaedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist at Lenox Hill Hospital, at least 3.5 million children under the age of 14 are treated for sports injuries each year. Overuse and lack of adequate education on injury prevention are major factors contributing to the escalating rate of youth sports injuries. “The vast majority of overuse injuries in this group of patients are certainly preventable,” said Dr. Kowalsky. He emphasized that proper nutrition and hydration, diligent training on proper techniques, sufficient rest between practice sessions, prompt care for pain or bruising, and adequate rehabilitation after trauma are essential in preventing major injuries and long-term degenerative disease.
With the support of the campaign coalition, the physicians are striving to minimize athletic injuries in children by educating patients and their families, hosting informational sessions with coaches and youth athletic teams, and incorporating the subject into the curriculum of the orthopaedic surgery residency program. “Synergy exists between the mission of our department and that of the STOP Sports Injuries Campaign,” noted Dr. Kowalsky. “We are passionate about advocating sports safety.”