You all ask… We (do our best to) find the answers!
Thank you to everyone that submitted questions for our sponsors at Mercy Sports Medicine! You all had some great questions!
We had the opportunity to visit with Mr. James Raynor, Administrative Director at Mercy Sports Medicine. He was super nice and willing to answer the questions moms want to know when it comes to keeping their kids safe and healthy while playing sports.
Note from Kelli and Mindi: Thank you, Jim, for taking the time to answer our questions! We appreciate you sharing your thoughts and concerns with us when it comes to sports safety. Oh and by the way! Congratulations to Mercy Sports Medicine for your 25th Anniversary! Thanks for keeping SWMO families healthy and safe!
Tell us about Mercy Sports Medicine. What is your primary focus?
Mercy Sports Medicine is a comprehensive program that focuses on care and well being of the competitive and recreational athletic population. We strive to partner with people to meet their individual athletic pursuits. Those could include injury evaluation and management, diagnostic testing, sports injury rehabilitation, sports performance enhancement, and/or athletic emergency event programming. We focus on the care of the athlete, young or old, recreational or competitive.
We understand Mercy Sports Medicine is celebrating your 25 anniversary. Congratulations! What are the two biggest changes you have seen in the last 25 years?
1.) Expectations. They are so much greater than when I first began. Those expectations can be very helpful if controlled and kept in perspective. Unfortunately the reality of those expectations become detrimental, especially to adolescents and their families. There is an unfortunate culture that believes that more is better and it is fueled by the underlying fear that you will be left behind in your child’s ability to play in sports. What people have to understand is that children develop at different rates intellectually, spiritually, emotionally, and physically. This is also true athletically especially during the adolescent years.
Expectations for athletic success often comes at a price. We see the price that is paid does not reveal itself until it is too late. We often hear of the terms burnout and that is a real issue, but we see more issues related to kids not meeting the expectations (real or perceived) placed on them. The pressure to perform and succeed has never been higher and it is primarily due to the amount of investment families have placed on their child’s athletic pursuits.
2.) The second greatest change that I have seen is the importance of sports medicine and that it is no longer a luxury but a necessity. What was only for the highest levels of athletic competition is now needed at the youth level. The greatest gifts to our society involves our children and the need to protect them from unnecessary injury/illness is paramount.
The role of sports medicine professionals is to first implement programming that focuses on prevention. Prevention should include Emergency Action Plans, CPR/AED programming, environmental conditions monitoring, nutrition, strength and conditioning, and sports medicine team role delineation. The sports medicine team should also be involved in the care and management of the injured/sick athlete. This could include specialized evaluation, rehabilitation or diagnostic testing to safely return athletes as fast as possible.
We asked our readers to send us some questions for you! Can you help? SWMO moms want to know
Moms ask: At what age is it safe for my child to play football?
Answer: I am asked this question and others similar to it often. It is important to note that this will always be a family decision. There are pros and cons of participating in any type of sport.
Football has received a significant amount of attention and there are reports indicating a decline in participation. From a medical standpoint participation in the sport of football is safe. The real question(s) that should be asked is the qualifications and training of the individuals who are coaching the sport.
- What is their philosophy regarding tackling and blocking, playing time?
- Injury recognition and management?
- Who are they accountable to?
Done correctly, football can be a very safe sport to participate in. Personally I am more concerned about our sons and daughters driving a motor vehicle than their participation in football.
Moms ask: What is a safe age to begin weight training for building strength for other sports? Is it different for boys vs. girls?
Answer: We know scientifically that children can begin strength training as young as 8 years old physically for males or females. Emotionally and intellectually readiness is another issue. I ask parents who is really wanting to get involved with the weight training? Is it the Dad or Mom? The child? As one would think, the parents will always say their child is the one that wants to participate in weight training. The reality is that the child just wants to play and is not too interested in actual strength training.
I would encourage any family that is looking for opportunities to begin strength training to find a professional with a college degree and or nationally recognized strength and conditioning certifications with experience training children and adolescents. Watch for the interest of your child. If they are excited and want to go to the “gym” to workout, by all means encourage but if it is a struggle and you have to convince them to go, a re-evaluation is warranted.
Moms ask: Is it safe for a child to play one sport all year long? Some say it is hard on their muscles if they only play one sport for the entire year rather than using other muscles while playing different sports.
Answer: There are more and more studies that are revealing discouraging realities regarding single sport participation. The Sports Medicine Committee of the American Academy of Pediatrics has strongly discouraged single sport participation http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/138/3/e20162148.
I could not agree more, we strongly encourage multi sport participation to avoid injury and burnout but also to enhance their athletic ability for crossover benefits of different sport participation.
Our thanks again to Jim for helping us out! If you would like to make an appointment with the Mercy Sports Medicine, you can reach out to them directly by calling 417.820.5010. They are located at 4331 S. Fremont in Springfield.
As always, we have a few more questions for our sponsors at Mercy! Readers, keep an eye on SouthwestMissouriMoms(dot)com next week for more helpful insights from Jim and his team at Mercy Sports Medicine.