AAOS Bulletin - December, 2005

AAOS teams with NATA for media event

Orthopaedists, athletic trainers, athletes spread the word on staying fit, healthy at any age

By Carolyn Rogers

Americans of all age groups are exploring new activities and, as a result, experiencing sport-related injuries more than ever before. Recognizing the need for expert advice on how athletes and active people of all ages can stay healthy, fit and injury-free, the AAOS teamed up with the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) in October to host “Life Cycle of the Athlete”—an educational forum held at New York City’s Madison Square Garden.

(From left), Nicholas A. DiNubile, MD; Letha Y. “Etty” Griffin, MD, PhD; Alvin H. Crawford, MD; Vonda J. Wright, MD; and Stuart A. Hirsch, MD, spoke at the Oct. 18, 2005, ‘Life Cycle of the Athlete’ media event in New York City.

Reporters from a variety of media outlets—including TIME, ESPN, Parents, SELF and Fitness magazines—attended the event to hear the latest research and recommendations on fitness and injury prevention for all age groups. Four leading orthopaedic surgeons joined four prominent certified athletic trainers to discuss the physical challenges facing youth and teen athletes, Generation X women, baby boomers and active seniors, and offered targeted fitness and injury prevention tips for each group.

“Both the AAOS and NATA believe the topics covered in this news conference are essential, given the dramatic rise of injuries among professional and amateur athletes alike,” said moderator Stuart A. Hirsch, MD, chair of the Academy’s Council on Communications.

Athletes share stories of recovery

Well-known sports personalities—including New York Giants’ offensive lineman Shaun O’Hara and starting left guard Rich Seubert, former New York Knick Mel Davis, world-champion swimmer Diana Nyad and four-time Olympian luge athlete Cameron A. Myler—spoke at the event as well, putting a “face” on the issue of injury and rehabilitation. The athletes described the sports injuries they had sustained, the care they’d received from orthopaedic surgeons and athletic trainers, and their roads to recovery.

Youth sports injuries on the rise

“Youth & High School Sport Injuries: Can The Epidemic Be Stopped?” was the first of four distinct, 30-minute sessions tailored to various age groups. Alvin H. Crawford, MD, director of pediatric orthopaedics at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, and Jon Almquist, ATC (Certified Athletic Trainer), spoke on this topic.

Dr. Crawford focused on young athletes’ rising number of overuse injuries, which have increased four-fold since 2000. Almquist discussed the staggering number of injuries among young athletes, as well as the impact of these injuries in terms of lost time from sports and educational opportunities.

Challenges facing “Gen X” women

“The Gen X Woman: Strength, Stress & Self” was the focus of the presentation by Letha Y. “Etty” Griffin, MD, PhD—team physician for Georgia State University and orthopaedic consultant for the Atlanta Ballet—and athletic trainer Elaine Winslow-Redmond, MS, ATC.

Dr. Griffin outlined the unique challenges women of this generation face—including work, parenting and caring for aging parents. Winslow-Redmond discussed the dilemma that 25- to 40-year-old female athletes encounter when they consider starting a family while maintaining a career, and the soaring birth rates for women ages 35-44.

“Boomeritis” and beyond

It’s time for a “new fitness prescription” for baby boomers, according to Nicholas A. DiNubile, MD, orthopaedic consultant for the Philadelphia 76ers and the Pennsylvania Ballet, and NATA Vice President Marjorie J. Albohm, MS, ATC. The speakers presented the latest research and recommendations for baby boomers in the session, “Boomeritis and Beyond.”

Dr. DiNubile examined the impact of musculoskeletal disorders, old injuries, genetics and other factors on the health of baby boomers, and offered prevention and treatment solutions for “boomeritis”—the term he coined to describe the growing number of sports injuries among the baby boom generation. Albohm advised the group on ways to improve fitness levels throughout the boomer years, and explained why fitness programs should be customized with an emphasis on core body conditioning.

Active, independent seniors

“The Independence of the Active Senior” was the focus of remarks by Vonda J. Wright, MD, MS, of the Hospital for Special Surgery, New York, and research coordinator for the 2005 Senior Olympics. Dr. Wright was joined by Kent Biggerstaff, ATC, former athletic trainer with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Dr. Wright spoke about aging in America, the problem of a sedentary lifestyle, and lost independence among seniors—citing the Senior Olympian as a model for active aging. Biggerstaff provided tips on how seniors can begin a daily exercise regimen, including important safety precautions.

In addition to spreading the word about fitness and injury prevention, the Academy’s first major media event in three years reinforced the important role that orthopaedic surgeons, athletic trainers and other allied health professionals play in preventing, treating and rehabilitating active people from injury through all stages of life.

The event also underscored the Academy’s position as a timely resource for media on current and future health and fitness topics. All media in attendance received a packet of AAOS educational materials and a copy of Frame Work: Your 7-Step Program for Healthy Muscles, Bones, and Joints, the newly released book by Dr. DiNubile.

For more information on the “Life Cycle” presentations, visit http://www.orthoinfo.org/lifecycle.

Key facts, tips for fitness at every age

Below are some of the key facts, findings and recommendations shared by orthopaedic surgeons and certified athletic trainers at the October “Life Cycle of the Athlete” media event in New York City.

Youth sports injuries growing

• Overall high school sports participation has increased by 27 percent since 1984: 18 percent for boys and 40 percent for girls.

• An estimated 10 percent of the more than 30 million U.S. children playing organized sports each year will become injured.

• Concern is growing that minor injuries, if left untreated, may become serious injuries by junior high or high school.

• Coaches, athletic trainers, parents and physicians need to monitor the training and competitive activities of young athletes, modify factors that may place athletes at acute risk of injury and enforce periods of “relative rest” when necessary.

Women of Generation X

• Gen X women make up 9 percent of the U.S. population, numbering 25 million.

• The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recently revised its guidelines for exercise during pregnancy, increasing both the recommended level and intensity of exercise.

• Articles in Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport and The Physician and Sportsmedicine agree that regular exercise for pregnant women is safe and beneficial.

• Gen X women should remember that to be a successful caregiver, one must first care for oneself through proper diet, adequate sleep and appropriate exercise.

‘Boomeritis’ & beyond

• Baby boomers are the first generation to try to stay active on an aging frame, resulting in a dramatic increase in musculoskeletal ailments and injuries.

• Among baby boomers, sports-related emergency room injuries escalated by 33 percent from 1991-1998.

• Going “all out” and ignoring pain can no longer be the exercise pattern of physically active boomers.

Active aging for seniors

• Active aging is a key element in preventing the loss of independence frequently experienced by sedentary seniors. Currently, one-third of seniors are obese and 70 percent engage in less than 30 minutes of moderate exercise per day.

• More than 35 illnesses can be positively affected by exercise, and many of the 250,000 deaths per year attributed to a sedentary lifestyle could be avoided. 

• Two times per week is often enough for strength exercises, while cardio and stretching exercises can be a daily activity.

• To reduce risk of injury, exercisers need to maintain proper form, select appropriate footwear and monitor the number of sets and repetitions.

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