Making a Good Thing Better — The Healthy Sport Index & Youth Sports

I have the great privilege of taking care of many outstanding young athletes in my sports medicine clinics

Youth sports is of special interest to me — I practice pediatric sports medicine at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, and perhaps 90% or more of the patients I see regularly participate in youth sports.

The topic is of great interest to this journal as well:  for example, CJSM will publish later this year a themed issue on topics in youth sports medicine, guest edited by my friend and colleague, pediatrician Alison Brooks M.D. of the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM).

Youth sports has long been recognized as a valuable activity for the individuals and families who choose to participate.  An abundance of evidence points to the health benefits — physical, mental, academic — that can be achieved by children and adolescents engaging in sports.

There has been growing concern over the last decade or two (or three), however, of the potential and possibly growing risks of youth sports.  The concerns range from early youth sports specialization and overuse injuries to early professionalism. The concerns include the youth sports culture itself – a culture manifest in nightmare form by the myriad incidents of abuse seen in USA Gymnastics or Swimming.

On April 12 2019, the AMSSM will be hosting a pre-conference prior to their annual meeting, entitled the Youth Early Sports Specialization Summit (YESSS!)   Among many of the subjects up for discussion is the “Healthy Sport Index (HSI),” an instrument developed by the Aspen Institute’s Project Play initiative and made public in October 2018. The HSI was designed to help kids and families answer the important question:  what sport is right for my child?  As a physician caring for thousands of these athletes a year, I can’t tell you how often I’m posed that question.  Now there is a tool to help.

One of the physicians who served on the Advisory Group for the development of the HSI was Michele LaBotz, M.D. She is a pediatrician and sports medicine physician in a large multi-specialty group in southern Maine, who serves on the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Council on Sports Medicine and Fitness (COSMF) and is a member of the AMSSM.  She kindly volunteered to give an overview on the HSI for the CJSM blog, and we’re delighted we can share her thoughts in the run up to YESSS!

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HEALTHY SPORT INDEX:  A UNIQUE TOOL FOR YOUTH SPORTS

Michele LaBotz MD FAAP

As health care providers, we rightfully emphasize safety and injury risk when discussing sport participation in young athletes.  We recognize the potential risks of sports that are contact vs. non-contact, or those that are high impact vs. low impact.   But, sport selection and participation is about more than just injury risk, and there is under-recognition that different sports exert a variety of influences on young athletes.  The Healthy Sport Index (HSI) presents this information in an appealing format and is a valuable resource for families and other stakeholders when considering sport-related issues in children and adolescents

HSI aggregates evidence-based data on physical activity, psychosocial effects, and safety on the 10 most popular high school sports for boys and girls in the U.S. Read more of this post

The surf was up at ACSEP 2017

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Let the koalas sleep — you won’t be doing much of that if you attend an ACSEP conference

One of the highlights of my 2016 was my first visit to the Australasian College of Sport and Exercise Physicians (ACSEP) annual meeting.  I wrote about the experience in several of these CJSM blog posts.

ACSEP is one of CJSM’s affiliated societies, and we greatly value our relationship with the college.  Two of our Associate Editors are members of the college: Hamish Osborne (NZ) and Steve Reid (AUS).

On a personal note, I also greatly valued the experience of attending the meeting. The venue (Surfer’s Paradise) was stunning — just the ticket for someone muddling through a Northern Hemisphere winter.  And the proceedings themselves — well, they were little short of perfect.  From the educational sessions to the food and social events — first class, all the way.

ACSEP 2016 was, without a doubt, one of the best sports medicine conferences I have ever attended.

I couldn’t make the 2017 edition, which also took place in Surfer’s Paradise. What was my misfortune turned out to have a pleasant side-effect, as Dr. Osborne was in attendance, and he graciously penned this letter giving an overview of the proceedings:

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ACSEP has been and gone and my promised blog post is now a thank you to all those who attended clearly our biggest but also our best-ever annual scientific conference. I arrived early, actually before most registrars as it turned out, to meet and greet and enjoy the excellent presentations from our new intake of trainees. The bar is going up and up. Looking forward to increasing research contributions from this group as they come through.

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Hi hon, really busy at the ACSEP meeting

The first afternoon of the conference was up there with perhaps the best series of 4 keynotes on SEM that I have ever heard. Read more of this post

Concussions around the globe

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Brandenburg Gate, Berlin

How do you get from Bethesda, MD to San Francisco to Berlin all in a month, during the busiest time of your year?

I don’t know — but my good friend Christina Master does.

Dr. Chistina Master is an esteemed colleague from Children’s Hospital, Philadelphia (CHOP), whom I am privileged to see at some medical conferences we both frequent, including the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM) and Pediatric Research in Sports Medicine (PRISM) meetings.   She is an associate professor of clinical pediatrics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, a prolific researcher, and a busy clinician with a focus on pediatric sports medicine.

She is also an avid runner and, it seems, world traveler.  A definite ‘must follow’ on Twitter if you want to stay up to date on pediatric sports medicine (or just enjoy her many photos of the beautiful trails on which she runs, or the great dining spots she hits on her travels). #OnTheMove may be the hashtag that best describes her!

Not being able to attend any one of the three fantastic meetings she hit this October, I asked her to share with the CJSM readership her reflections on the current state of concussion understanding from around the globe.  What follows are her first hand reports from the proceedings of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Pediatric Concussion Workshop (Bethesda), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Council on Sports Medicine & Fitness meeting (San Francisco), and the “Concussion in Sports Group” (Berlin)

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Dr. Christina Master (2nd from left) with some friends from CHOP

October is usually a busy month for concussions with all the fall sports in full swing. This October was also busy for concussions in a different way, with three important meetings focusing on the topic.  In mid October, the NIH convened a Pediatric Concussion Workshop, gathering an interdisciplinary group of researchers, clinicians and stakeholders together in Bethesda, MD to discuss the current state of the evidence in our understanding of pediatric concussion, particularly in those younger than high school.  It was an honor to present along with Bill Meehan and Kevin Guskiewicz among other experts at this workshop.  Topics addressed included Read more of this post

ECG for the PPE? A conversation with Dr. Jonathan Drezner

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Dr. Jonathan Drezner in South Africa. Photo courtesy Alison Brooks.

Highlighting the just-published issue of CJSM is the new American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM) position statement on cardiovascular preparticipation screening in young athletes.  The position statement is an invaluable contribution to the ongoing discussion over the pros and cons of adding the ECG to the preparticipation evaluation/examination (PPE) to prevent sudden cardiac death/arrest (SCD/SCA).

Those familiar with this debate will be familiar as well with the lead author of the statement, Dr. Jonathan Drezner. Dr. Drezner is a Professor in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Washington and a team physician for the Seattle Seahawks of the NFL.  Dr. Drezner has published frequently in our pages, most often on the subjects of the PPE and screening for SCD/SCA.

The debate over the role of ECG in the PPE is one of the more contentious in sports medicine.  We look forward to seeing how the AMSSM statement will contribute to the direction that debate will take.  jsm-podcast-bg-1

You can gain added perspective on the statement and the controversy by listening to our newest podcast — a conversation with Dr. Drezner himself.  You can access the podcast both on iTunes and you can find it on our CJSM website as well.

Enjoy the discussion, and be sure to check out the statement itself, freely available in the 2016 September CJSM.

 

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