FastMed Urgent Care is advising North Carolina student athletes, their parents and trainers on best practices when it comes to pre-participation sports physicals, pre-injury care and post-injury care to help ensure improved long-term positive health care outcomes and reduced recovery periods for child athletes.
With the winter sports season in full swing for basketball, wrestling, indoor track, girls gymnastics, swimming and cheerleading, and other sports, more child athletes are seeking quality care for injuries. In addition, the spring season is approaching quickly, so students will need their annual sports pre-participation physical examination for varsity and junior varsity soccer, softball and baseball, tennis, track and lacrosse.
Melvin G. Lee, MD, Chief Medical Officer of FastMed Urgent Care in North Carolina, provides the following advice for parents and guardians for child athletes:
1. If a student suffers any type of athletic injury, it’s best to play it safe and get it checked out as soon as possible to avoid any long-term complications as the child grows.
2. The medical examination, which should be performed by a licensed physician, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant, should include an evaluation of prior concussions or other head injuries, chronic medical illnesses such as diabetes and asthma, and a family genetic history of heart murmurs, heart infections or seizures.
3. Make sure that the clinicians treating their children are trained to provide specific recommendations for further testing and treatment, document any athletic injury restrictions, academic accommodations and return-to-play instructions, and effectively communicate to the child, trainer, parents and school, based on the individual needs of the athlete.
4. Make sure that the clinic has the ability and equipment to treat the vast majority of sports injuries, including onsite x-ray evaluations, treatment of fractures and dislocations, braces, splints, injections and concussion evaluation after a traumatic brain injury (TBI) or impact.
5. For pre-participation physicals, parents should pay attention not just to quality care, but also to convenience and price; for instance, at FastMed students can walk-in and receive their sports physical in less than 20 minutes for only $30 (sports physical examinations can cost as much as $59 at some doctors’ offices and clinics).
Dr. Lee explained that nationally ankle (15%), head (14%), finger (12%), knee (9%) and face (7%) injuries were the most common recorded according to a 2013 report from the non-profit advocacy group Safe Kids Worldwide. Sprains, strains, fractures, contusions, abrasions and concussions are among the most common sports-related injuries treated by FastMed.
 Safe Kids Worldwide: