The Pediatric Sports Medicine Specialist
A pediatric sports medicine specialist is a healthcare provider who has chosen to train and focus his or her medical practice on healing injuries caused during sports or athletic activities. These are injuries that could result from a collision between players, from a youngster working the same muscles too much, or from falling on a hard surface and fracturing a bone. If untreated, damage to a child's tendons, joints, muscles, and bones could have lasting effects on his or her growth.
Pediatric sports medicine training
To practice as a pediatric sports medicine specialist, healthcare providers must have 4 years of medical school, 3 years of training in pediatrics, and an additional 1 to 2 years of specialized training in sports medicine. Plus, they have to earn a Certification of Added Qualification through the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Pediatric sports medicine specialists know that children are not "small adults." They understand that the body of a child or teen is still developing and needs a different approach to treatment.
Why consider a pediatric sports medicine specialist
According to the CDC, more than 2.6 million children are seen each year in the emergency room for injuries related to sports and recreation. Pediatric sports medicine specialists not only treat these injuries, but also tell parents how to help prevent them from happening again. Some children and teens may find it hard to talk about what's going on with their body. Another reason for them to see pediatric sports medicine specialists is that these healthcare providers are trained to treat youngsters. They know how to work with young athletes and put them at ease. Their offices are usually designed with young patients in mind. For small children, for instance, they usually offer toys and games that may not be found in regular healthcare providers' offices.
When to see a pediatric sports medicine specialist
A sports medicine specialist treats common sports injuries in young athletes. These include sprains, strains, fractures, dislocations, and injuries to ligaments.
Serious problems often treated by a pediatric sports medicine specialist include:
Tendonitis and other overuse injuries
Injuries to growth plates
Damage to the shock-absorbing cartilage
Concerns about nutrition or sports supplement use
Care of an athlete with special needs
In addition, pediatric sports medicine specialists can help with almost any kind of pain or physical limitations that are making it hard for a child to enjoy sports or exercise. These healthcare providers also have expertise with conditions, such as exercise-induced asthma, diabetes, eating disorders, and other diseases, that could affect a young athlete's performance.
These specialists practice in children's hospitals, private clinics, and sports medicine clinics, among other medical facilities. You might need a referral from your child's primary healthcare provider to see a pediatric sports medicine specialist. Make sure you understand what your health insurance plan requires before you set up an appointment.