Sports medicine can be equally rewarding for providers and athletes alike, but it does not come without its challenges. From caring for an injured athlete who might hurry recovery to dealing with the team and the media, sports medicine providers have many burdens to overcome. Our orthopedic surgeon in Altamonte Springs discusses the most pressing issues in sports medicine.
Brain trauma is the most pressing issue in the sports medicine industry. Affecting players of every sport, the full range of brain trauma effects still makes its consequences felt long-term. Unfortunately, various individual investigations into concussion issues are making little to no progress, and Congressional hearings have been held surrounding the subject. For sports players, chronic traumatic encephalopathy and the point that it is challenging to diagnose continues to hurt retired sports players' ranks. This neurodegenerative disease is linked to repetitive head injuries and can cause behavior and mood disorders and cognitive dysfunction.
Tears of the anterior cruciate ligament are devastating for youth football and NFL players. Though head trauma and concussions are at the forefront of sports medicine, many experts call the consistent and steady occurrence of ACL injuries an unpreventable epidemic.
All levels of baseball have been devastated by ulnar collateral ligament tears. From MLB players to young athletes, a torn UCL ends careers with no resolution in sight. Primary care emerges as a viable alternative to surgery for minor UCL tears that cuts rehabilitation time in half. Complete UCL tears require a 12-month recovery process and scarring that will last a lifetime.
Young athletes are drawn in by the allure of playing their favorite sport professionally, causing them to try to play sports year-round, risking their health. However, experts have adopted the view that no child should be in the same sport all year and urge parents to enforce and implement mandatory rest periods or encourage their players to be involved in other sports to reduce the risk of injury with a single sports specialization.
The misuse of regenerative medicine is continually a problem in sports medicine. In 2017, a statement was released by the FDA announcing that it intends to increase oversight on stem cell use after many unethical individuals were conducting and peddling regenerative medicine techniques for problems that they had not been approved for treating yet. The FDA is trying to protect sports medicine patients and the public from treatments that have not been proven effective or safe.
The opioid crisis has influenced the sports medicine industry. While Americans only represent 4.6% of the global population, they consume nearly 80% of the world's opioid supply. In addition, studies show that 20% of people become long-term opioid users once they have an initial 10-day prescription. As a result, sports medicine experts attempt to provide opioids as a last resort. They warn patients of opioid risks and work with them to develop treatment plans that will help them recover from their injuries without using opioids.
Sports media tends to glorify athletes who play while injured and is one of the most troubling problems in the sports medicine industry. Players are applauded by fans and the media for continuing to play while wounded when really, they are only risking further injury for themselves.
These are just a few of the most pressing problems in the sport's medicine industry. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon in Altamonte Springs.