Taking part in sports and recreation activities is an important part of a healthy, physically active lifestyle for kids. But injuries can, and do, occur. Sports medicine focuses on helping people improve their athletic performance, recover from injury and prevent injuries. Sports medicine is a fast-growing area of opportunity and compliments Norman Regional’s orthopedic services.
National industry trends predict sports medicine procedures will have a double digit increase over the next five years. The number of participants in high school sports reached an all-time high in 2017-2018, according to the National Federation of State High School Associations. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, more than half of all sports injuries in children are preventable.
Athletic Trainers and Schools
Norman Regional’s Sports Medicine program includes a corps of athletic trainers who work with athletes in local schools. This is an expansion of the Health System’s successful athletic trainer program with Norman Public Schools since 2013. Norman Regional supports athletic trainers and sports programs at the following school districts and colleges:
- Norman Public Schools
- Moore Public Schools
- Noble Public Schools
- Bethany Public Schools
- Harrah Public Schools
- Jones Public Schools
- Mount St. Mary Catholic High School (Oklahoma City)
- Southwest Christian University (Bethany)
- Washington Public Schools in Oklahoma
- University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma (Chickasha)
Common injuries athletes face include heat exhaustion, concussions, sprains and broken bones. Sports injuries can sometimes be prevented. Here are a few tips to stay in the game:
- Gear up. When children are active in sports and recreation, make sure they use the right protective gear for their activity, such as helmets, wrist guards, knee or elbow pads.
- Use the right stuff. Be sure that sports protective equipment is in good condition, fits appropriately and is worn correctly all the time—for example, avoid missing or broken buckles or compressed or worn padding. Poorly fitting equipment may be uncomfortable and may not offer the best protection.
- Get an action plan in place. Be sure your child’s sports program or school has an action plan that includes information on how to teach athletes ways to lower their chances of getting a concussion and other injuries.
- Pay attention to temperature. Allow time for child athletes to gradually adjust to hot or humid environments to prevent heat-related injuries or illness. Parents and coaches should pay close attention to make sure that players are hydrated and appropriately dressed. If you feel faint or weak, STOP all activity and get to a cool place.
- Be a good model. Communicate positive safety messages and serve as a model of safe behavior, including wearing a helmet and following the rules.
The Sports Medicine program is another way in which Norman Regional is fulfilling its mission to be the leader in health and wellness and getting everyone to a healthier place, including student athletes.