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On this episode of the Healthy Wealthy and Smart Podcast, Dr. Jackie Whittaker and I discuss youth sports injuries. Dr. Whittaker is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy, University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, Research Director of the Glen Sather Sports Medicine Clinic and recognized as a clinical specialist in musculoskeletal physiotherapy by the Canadian Physiotherapy Association. Jackie’s research is focused on prevention of youth sport injuries and the consequences of these injuries as it relates to later negative health outcomes such as inactivity, obesity and osteoarthritis.
In this episode, we discuss:
-The most common injuries in youth sports and their lasting impact
-Physical therapy’s role in youth medical care
-What is most important in your first patient encounter?
-How to intervene for primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention
-Dr. Whittaker’s current research on long-term effects of youth injury
-And so much more!
Physical therapy’s role in youth healthcare is very important and Dr. Whittaker notes that, “The leading cause of injury requiring medical attention is related to sport and recreation participation.” Injury amongst youth athletes is driven by multiple factors including early sport specialization and year-round seasons.
Within a few years following youth injury, Dr. Whittaker shares, “They are starting to head down this trajectory of having negative health outcomes,” which includes becoming less active and obese.
When treating adolescents, it is important to consider the long-term impact beyond the initial injury. Preventing negative outcomes in the future requires setting realistic expectations and instilling confidence in their body’s capabilities. Dr. Whittaker stresses, “We also have to have their long term musculoskeletal health in the back of our head when we are treating their acute injury and trying to get them back to sport.”
Physical therapists should advocate active alternatives to competitive sport to allow youth to maintain involvement in a peer group and mitigate risk of future negative health outcomes. Dr. Whittaker believes physical therapists need to have the difficult conversation about how, “There knee is never going to be the same again.”
For more information on Dr. Whittaker:
Dr. Whittaker is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy, Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, and Research Director of the Glen Sather Sports Medicine Clinic at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada. She is recognized as a clinical specialist in musculoskeletal (MSK) physiotherapy by the Canadian Physiotherapy Association and is a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Manipulative Physical Therapists. Jackie’s research interests lie in scientific inquiry that will substantially influence a shift in the approach taken to manage chronic MSK disorders from treatment of chronic disease (tertiary prevention) towards prevention and delaying/halting disease onset (primary and secondary prevention) including optimizing the musculoskeletal health of youth and adolescent populations. Jackie’s background combines knowledge gained through 21 years of clinical practice and intensive research training (PhD and post-doctoral fellowship). In addition to her appointment at the University of Alberta, Dr. Whittaker is an Adjunct Professor at the International Olympic Committee funded Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre at the University of Calgary, Canada and Associate Member of the Arthritis Research UK Centre for Sport, Exercise and Osteoarthritis.
Resources discussed on this show:
Jackie Whittaker University of Alberta Website
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