Young Athletes Paying to Play?
Soccer, football, baseball, tennis, gymnastics. Today the number of activities available to the young athlete serves up a smorgasbord of choices. “College-bound teenagers in the United States and around the world are way more active than ever before,” said Col. Tom DeBerardino, MD, the Sports Medicine Fellowship Director at Keller Army Hospital in West Point, N.Y.
“These days it seems in order to be a well-rounded student and gain admission into a good college, participating in at least one or even two extracurricular sports is a must on almost every student’s ‘to do’ list. However, increased exposure to sporting activities translates into increased risk of injuries sustained by these young student athletes,” Dr. DeBerardino noted. “Fortunately, operations and procedures to fix many of these problems are now good, too.”
Dr. DeBerardino cited the following statistics on newly arriving cadets at West Point:
• In 1998, 10 to 12 cadets reported having major reconstructive shoulder surgery
• By 2008, at least 50 cadets had already had this surgery before arriving on campus.
“Pay to Play: New Risks to the Adolescent Athlete” will be presented as a media briefing at the 75th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS). The briefing will take place at the Moscone Convention Center, South Mezzanine, on Friday, Mar. 7, 2008, at 10:15 a.m., in Room 224.
Moderated by Dr. DeBerardino, the panel includes retired Army Col. Dean C. Taylor, MD, from Duke University. Dr. Taylor will discuss how younger athletes who suffer partial dislocated shoulders are now being treated the same as those who suffer a full dislocation. Mininder S. Kocher, MD, from Harvard, shares new information that points to having the ability, in most cases, to perform the same amount of reconstructive work on the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in younger patients that we now do in adults, without causing any growth abnormalities.
Tetsuya Matsuura, MD, from the University of Tokushima in Japan, shares his study on why elbow overuse injuries are on the rise in young baseball players. His study looked at more than 1,800 young athletes participating in a 2006 summer tournament in Japan and found that:
• 40 percent experienced elbow pain
• 20 percent of that 40 percent had osteochondral lesions
(An osteochondral lesion is a rare joint disorder mostly affecting the knee and elbow.)
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