Fredericksburg Parent

Winter 2020

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18 Fredericksburg Parent and Family • Winter 2020 Ask the Expert a sk t h e e x p e rt Children gain so much from participation in youth sports from teamwork and great memories to the life-long healthy habit of staying active. But one of the realities of youth sports is injury. Treating youth sports injuries takes specialized knowl- edge. In many instances, doctors must be able to determine where a child is on his or her growth trajectory before prescribing the right course of treatment. Mary Washington Orthopedics in affiliation with FOA can provide this expertise to families throughout the Fredericksburg region, with doctors who rotate among three locations in Fredericksburg, Massaponax and North Stafford. As our December Experts, Mary Washington Orthopedics' doctors and physical therapists share advice for parents on how to prevent and treat youth sports injuries. Stay tuned to the Fredericksburg Parent and Family Facebook page for a video with more tips later this month. Q: At what age do youth sports injuries tend to start happening? Kenneth J. Accousti, M.D. (Specialties: Shoulder & Elbow, Sports Medicine): It usually starts around 8 to 10 years old. The first things I tend to see are the Little League shoulder and elbow injuries. Pitchers and catchers are throwing, throwing, throw- ing and their bones are still developing. When they are younger than that, we may see some fractures from playground injuries, but the ligament injuries tend to start happening around 8, 9 or 10, when they start playing more organized sports. Q: What sports are the most injury-prone? Christopher Richards, M.D. (Specialty: Sports Medicine) Injury-rate data is important for parents to be aware of, and there is good research on this. When I did my fellowship in sports medicine at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, I spent one day each week at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. The sports medicine team there has put together some really helpful research and a tool that can show parents the risk of ACL tear by sport for both boys and girls. The ACL, or anterior cruciate ligament, is a key ligament that stabilizes the knee, and injuries can side- line athletes for 8-9 months. Tear rates are higher for girls than for boys. I highly recom- mend parents consult this data. You can find it online at Scott Hyldahl, Physical Therapist Everybody always thinks football is the most common, but around here, I see more soccer injuries. We also see a lot of overuse injuries in the upper extremities in youth baseball, volleyball and swimming. Many people don't think of swimming as an injury-prone sport, but swimmers are bringing their arms above their heads repeatedly, and often practice five or more times a week. INTERVIEWED BY EMILY FREEHLING Photos taken by Jennifer Synan of M&J Photography. Find more of her work at

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