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Back to the Field

sports medicine team with Nathalie

Shriners Children's New England patient Nathalie and the sports medicine team celebrate her "Back to Sports" graduation.

Whether it’s on the field or on the playground, sometimes children get hurt. In a growing child, growth plates are open and are the weakest part of a child's skeleton. With student athletes, the risk of growth-plate injury is heightened due to intense training, but Shriners Children’s is here to reduce fear and answer questions while we care for children and their families. With the help of the growing sports medicine program, various Shriners Children’s locations work together to get kids back to the field as quickly and safely as possible.

An essential factor of this developing program is the work shared across locations. Currently, at Shriners Children’s New England, Ahmad Bayomy, M.D., had firsthand experience building the location’s sports medicine program. Now at Shriners Children’s Portland, Dr. Bayomy is excited to bring over new ideas. “We are looking to develop the program in Portland more broadly, including recruiting care team members in the hospital,” said Dr. Bayomy. “We are defining care processes for patients and establishing community partners involved in the care of recreational and competitive athletes, including sports psychologists and strength and conditioning coaches.”

With experience implementing a similar program in New England, Dr. Bayomy is working together with colleagues across the system in athletic training, physical therapy, occupational therapy and non-surgical sports medicine. Alongside Shriners Children’s Portland sports medicine specialists Jeremy Bauer, M.D., Krister Freese, M.D., Heather Kong, M.D., and Dominique Laron, M.D., Dr. Bayomy is eager to get the program up and running. The collective approach to patient care allows for the locations to grow the program together, empowering a strong team of individuals who are passionate about helping student athletes get back to the playing field.

Jonathan Reidy, LAT, ATC, works as manager of athletic training services at Shriners Children’s New England. Although thousands of miles away, Jonathan shares similar sentiments to his colleagues in Portland. A unique aspect of the program that Jonathan highlights is that it involves all members of the care team. “We involve the physician, physical therapist, athletic trainers and other members in our current process, which allows for many sets of eyes to review and discuss the results and how they impact the treatment plan,” Jonathan said.

The team also assesses what community resources are available and if any would benefit each individual. “Every family has their own unique needs, challenges and expectations. We have a lot more flexibility in how we deliver the care that they need,” Jonathan said.

I would love to continue to be a part of the sports medicine team at Shriners Children’s while continuing to provided excellent, evidenced-based care to our patients and athletes in order for them to return to full participation in sport with the strength, endurance and confidence to participate and compete at their best!
Mary Eighmy, PT, D.P.T., OCS, physical therapist at Shriners Children’s Erie

With help from shared databases and collaborative work, the many Shriners Children’s locations involved in the growing sports medicine program are empowered to help patients get back to sports. Specifically, the Shriners Consortium for Research and Education in Sports (SCORES), started at Shriners Children’s Philadelphia and now involving many sites, is a dynamic group of interdisciplinary healthcare providers and researchers. “I think the database will be a big step forward for the system as a whole, as we will be able to answer some research questions that are hard to study at just a single site,” Dr. Bauer said. “With our pooled resources, we are positioned to study areas within sports medicine that haven’t been able to be studied well before.”

These collective resources will lead Shriners Children’s providers to determine the optimal treatment for children with sports injuries through setting up various multi-center research projects. “The potential there is endless,” said Jonathan. With robust research and shared data, Shriners Children’s care providers are equipped to work alongside patients to bring them back to optimal shape for sports.

Another important concept shared throughout the program is the “Return to Sports” idea. “We want to make sure that children are adequately rehabilitated before they go back to sports so that they don’t get a new injury,” Dr. Bauer said. “We want to find areas of weakness or poor form that might contribute to injuries and look to ways to prevent them.” A number of assessments are performed, including patient questionnaires, strength testing, and physical maneuvers like running, hopping and jumping. These are thought to reflect how well a patient is moving and how confident they feel overall. Collectively, the physical portions can be described as functional testing, and the rehabilitation process should gradually prepare a patient to succeed.

“The Return to Sports approach looks to provide early education, clear guidance on when and how to return to activities successfully, and ways to reduce the likelihood for a psychologically and physically devastating reinjury,” Dr. Bayomy said. With holistic care involving assessments of progress, patients are set up for steady success in getting them back to the field.

Although the program is still growing, there are already so many successes to celebrate. Dr. Bayomy is eager to see how the program flourishes across the system. “The people and facilities at Shriners Children’s Portland are poised to deliver evidence-based, comprehensive, compassionate care –whether for a child hoping to resume gym class or a high school athlete aspiring to a Division I collegiate scholarship,” he said. Through innovative treatments, collaborative projects and comprehensive research, the sports medicine program improves the quality of patients’ lives and help them reach their full potential, on and off the field.

Working Hard in Physical Therapy to Get Back to Soccer

Shriners Children's Portland patient Max and physical therapist Sally go through exercises to help strengthen Max and prepare him to go back into sports.
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No sound, just video of patient during physical therapy.

End screen: Shriners Children's Portland logo.

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