The inaugural event for this campaign will take place on Thursday, July 25 at 5:30 p.m. at the Gadsden City High School auditorium and cafeteria. Parents, coaches, athletes and health care providers are encouraged to attend this free event. The first 300 to arrive will receive a free T-shirt, and all attendees will be treated to a complimentary hot dog dinner. Attendees are encouraged to sign up prior to the event by visiting www.gadsdenregional.com.
The program is co-sponsored by Jacksonville State University and Gadsden Regional Medical Center. Other local partners for the event include Northeast Orthopedics, Gadsden Orthopaedics and Strategic Solutions. Speakers and panelists from each organization will address the growing need to mitigate injuries in youth athletics. Stephen Pennington, chief executive officer, and Leslie Harp, marketing director, of Gadsden Regional Medical Center will welcome and moderate the program. Butch Douthit, M.D., and Chris Kelley, M.D., of Northeast Orthopedics; Jack Crowe of Strategic Solutions; David Ellis, PT, MHS, of Gadsden Regional Medical Center; and William Haller III, M.D., of Gadsden Orthopaedics, will serve as panelists for the program. Topics will include heat illness, concussions and overuse injuries.
The campaign educates athletes, parents, athletic trainers, coaches and health care providers about the rapid increase in youth sports injuries, the necessary steps to help reverse the trend and the need to keep young athletes healthy. STOP Sports Injuries campaign highlights include teaching proper prevention techniques, discussing the need for open communication between everyone involved in young athletes’ lives and encouraging those affected to sign The Pledge to be an advocate for sports safety. The campaign website and pledge are available at www.STOPSportsInjuries.org.
Sports injuries among young athletes are on the rise. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, high school athletes alone account for an estimated two million injuries, 500,000 doctor visits and 30,000 hospitalizations every year.
Jacksonville State University President William A. Meehan has commissioned the development of a series of online education courses specific to sport injury prevention. Meehan, an Ohio Valley Conference representative on the board of directors of the NCAA, understands the role of education in all sports. He has stated in his commitment to be a part of a sport injury prevention coalition that “we believe it is our responsibility as a public institution of higher education to educate athletes, parents, educators and coaches in the prevention of sports injuries.” The proposed courses will be offered as continuing education or as part of the degree programs in sports management, physical education, human performance and sports nutrition.
The high rate of youth sports injuries is fueled by an increase in overuse and trauma injuries and a lack of attention paid to proper injury prevention. According to the CDC, more than half of all sports injuries in children are preventable.
“Regardless of whether the athlete is a professional, an amateur, an Olympian or a young recreational athlete, the number of sports injuries is increasing – but the escalation of injuries in kids is the most alarming,” said Dr. James Andrews, former president of the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine and STOP Sports Injuries campaign co-chair. “Armed with the correct information and tools, today’s young athletes can remain healthy, play safe and stay in the game for life.”
Supporting the STOP Sports Injuries campaign are the country’s leading sports medicine organizations along with professional athletes and business leaders who have signed on as members of the campaign’s Council of Champions. This council will help raise additional awareness about this growing epidemic of youth sports injuries. Some of the founding members of the council include former Olympic champions Christie Rampone, Eric Heiden and Bonnie Blair; professional golfer Jack Nicklaus, NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Bart Starr; MLB baseball player John Smoltz; NFL Hall of Fame defensive end Howie Long, and Heisman Trophy winner and St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford.
Recently U.S. News and World Report recognized JSU’s online graduate education program as one of the 2013 Best Online Education Programs. http://www.jsu.edu/distance/index.html