USF partners with STOP Sports Injuries Campaign

The USF Physical Therapy Center, the faculty practice of the School of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Services, was recently designated an official collaborating organization for the STOP Sports Injuries Campaign.  The STOP Sports Injuries Campaign is a national effort to raise awareness of youth sports safety with particular attention to overuse and trauma injuries.

The USF component will be led by assistant clinical professors Kyle Watterson PT, DPT, OCS, SCS, ATC, Betty A. McNeff PT, DPT, PCS, and Alex Altamiranda PT, DPT, SCS, under the direction of Kevin Murdoch, PT, DPT, MS, OCS,  of the USF Physical Therapy Center.  The strength of the program lies in the collective specializations of the clinical faculty team.

The new effort, which addresses elementary and middle-school students, complements USF’s current focus on high-school and college aged athletes through its SMART (Sports Medicine and Athletic Related Trauma) program. 

“The combined efforts of the SMART and STOP programs will ensure that young athletes of all ages have access to appropriate care within the USF health system,” Dr. McNeff said. “Our goal is to help young athletes remain safe and avoid the long-term consequences of overuse and trauma.”

A particular aim of the pediatric sports program is to establish effective partnerships among healthcare providers, coaches, and parents in recognizing the risks and creating solutions so that children achieve future success both on and off the field.

“It is estimated that over 30 million children are participating in organized sports and we are seeing an increasing rate of injuries,” she said. “Though many factors may predispose a child to injury, high-intensity training, early specialization, and year-round participation are among the top concerns today.  It is important to recognize that children are not small adults but differ in social, emotional, and physical development.  Because of this, special requirements are necessary in treating the young athlete. We are well-trained and ready to take on this task.”

The STOP Sports Injuries Campaign was initiated by the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine.  Its aim is to offer a comprehensive public outreach program focused on the importance of youth sports safety. The initiative not only raises awareness and provides education on injury prevention; it highlights how playing safe and smart can enhance and extend a child’s athletic career and lifelong love of exercise and healthy activity. Our message underscores the problems of overuse and trauma and emphasizes the expertise of our coalition of clinical specialists.