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Helping Athletes Stay in the Game

The possibility of injury faces athletes of all ages, but with the proper approach to sports, players can perform their best with less risk of getting hurt.

"Sports medicine is an approach to care that considers what a patient needs to play a sport, as well as what he or she needs for long-term health,” says Paul Guttuso, M.D., family and sports medicine physician on the medical staff at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Kaufman. “I treat sports injuries such as fractures and sprains, as well as other issues that may affect an athlete’s ability to play, including wounds, skin diseases, eye and ear injuries, asthma, concussions and others. I want athletes to return to play, but most importantly, I want them to be able to keep playing.”

Stretching is often viewed as one of the most important things an athlete can do to avoid injury. According to Dr. Guttuso, research shows that stretching does not prevent injury, but it’s important because it helps athletes begin focusing on the task in front of them.

According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, athletes can also take the following measures to prevent sports injuries:

• Avoid running uphill or on hard surfaces like asphalt and concrete.

• Cool down after intense activity by walking or jogging for five minutes.

• Land with the knees bent during jumping.

• Prevent knee injury by bending the joints no more than 90 degrees during half-knee bends and keeping feet as flat as possible during stretches.

• Wear stable, properly fitting shoes that absorb shock.

For more information about sports medicine, call 1-877-THRWELL (1-877-847-9355) or visit TexasHealth.org/SportsMedicine. (Summer 2010)

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