Changing the way we care for youth athletes

I’ve spent a good deal of time in my life in the youth sports environment. As a kid I was involved in sports. When I got older I was fortunate to be able to play in collegiate sports as well. I played soccer my fours years of college. I never had a severe injury that took me out of play, however, I would constantly have smaller injuries which kept me from being able to play 100%. These were hip flexor strains, groin strains, a subluxed rib, etc. As a collegiate athlete, I had the athletic trainers to turn to to help with my injuries. In fact, I was in the athletic training program as well, so I would have more time in the training room helping other athletes as well. With my limited knowledge of rehabilitation as an undergraduate student, I would help athletes at the college level return to play after their injuries. As I’ve grown in my career and understanding of rehabilitation and prevention of athletic injuries, I see how my college experience could have been so much better if I would have applied the knowledge I now know to my college self back then. Even with simple habits, like doing an annual Functional Movement Screen, foam rolling, or focusing on the 5 Pillars of Athletic Health, I would have been performing at much higher level.

So what’s my point in all of this?

I believe it is time that we change the way we approach youth sports from a health care perspective. The training volumes and intensity has dramatically increased over the past 20 years or so, and yet we have not adapted how we care for the youth athletes. I believe we have an out-dated system of care, which needs to catch up with the increased demand for quicker access and better care.

I believe a system which incorporates a pre-season screening of athletes who are at risk for injuries should be performed. Not just your typical “Are you breathing?” screen, but one that actually looks at function. I believe that we need to use the technology we have in our pockets to increase the speed in which care is delivered. Having a quick mobile consult through video chat with a healthcare professional the same day an injury occurs, will save time, money, and lead to quicker recoveries.  I believe that teaching youth and parents what can be done safely during recovery from an injury is much, much better than the “Rest for 2 weeks” prescription. I believe that teaching parents, coaches and athletes the foundations of athletic health and performance through team online curriculum will lead to more educated, healthier and better performing athletes. Their education while preparing as an athlete will lead to good healthy habits as an adult as well. I believe that teaching youth, parents and coaches how to perform some easy taping for common injuries, or how to do some self soft tissue mobilization for speedier recovery will improve the athletic health and performance of athletes. All in all, change is needed. At Change Sports Physical Therapy, we are innovating to deliver that change. 

We are looking for youth sports programs to partner with who want to deliver the best care to their athletes. We are looking for partners who truly care about the health, well-being and development of their athletes. We can assist these youth sports programs to achieve what they are setting out to achieve, which is healthy success for their young athletes.

How do we do this?

We have an innovative partnership program with youth sports organizations. With a low monthly membership cost, all the athletes in our partnering programs will have access to the following:

  1. Full access during season to our physical therapy services: No need to deal with co-pays, deductibles, referrals, etc. Anything we can deal with in our office, we will do it as an all inclusive membership.
  2. Thriving Athlete 101 Online Course: Online curriculum for teams to gain a foundation and common language surrounding how to establish a solid foundation of athletic health and performance. 
  3. Mobile Video Consults: No need to wait to schedule an appointment, deal with insurances, and get all your schedules aligned to get in to see a healthcare provider. With our mobile video consults, your athletes will have access to expert advice quickly. Immediate next step care can be assessed and begin to correct path to recovery.
  4. Pre-Season Screenings: Team screenings for injury resilience using a movement screen. In addition, testing on key athletic markers will help guide coaches and athletes in what their weak links and strengths are in their athleticism. 
  5. Educational Workshops: Team workshops on several different topics surrounding athletic health. From taping techniques, to foam roll techniques, these workshops are practical learning experiences for athletes, parents and coaches. 

This is what we are going after at Change Sports Physical Therapy. I believe there is a better way to take care of our youth. If you are involved in a youth sports program and would like to begin the conversation of how we can bring these services to your athletes, email me at matt@sportschange.com to get the conversation started. I look forward to hearing from you!

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