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A local school districts and athletic associations resume practices and reopen schools for the fall after COVID-19 closures, and the team of specialized sports medicine doctors at Orthopedic Specialists & Sports Medicine is offering guidance to help protect the health and safety of student-athletes. Athletes or parents and guardians seeking specialized bone, joint and muscle care are encouraged to call (740) 788-9220 to schedule a safe in-office appointment at 2750 Newark-Granville Road. The practice’s Orthopedic Urgent Care as well as telehealth appointments are also available. 

“We are committed to the health and safety of student-athletes in the game and out in the world,” says Dr. Edward Westerheide, board-certified orthopedic surgeon at Orthopedic Specialists & Sports Medicine. “To help athletes have the safest transition possible back to their school and sports activities, my team and I have developed a comprehensive list of guidelines to keep in mind as athletics resume.”

Student-athletes, parents, guardians and coaches should exercise caution to reduce the risk of viral spread in groups. To reduce this risk as well as the risk of injury, athletes and responsible parties should ensure these protocols and strategies are followed:

  • Follow your school or league’s COVID-19–related regulations: In addition to maintaining social and physical distancing as best as possible and respecting guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, players, parents and coaches should follow any state, local, school, league and venue regulations set to combat the spread of COVID-19.
  • Keep your health and hygiene in mind: Maintain a proper diet, drink plenty of water and fluids and do not overtrain. You should also practice good hygiene by washing your hands, avoiding touching your face, wearing face coverings when appropriate as well as avoiding close physical contact with those outside of your household when able. Other ways to protect your health include:
  • Get medical clearance: While many schools and leagues require a pre-participation physical before sports and school seasons resume, athletes should get a physical from a medical professional as soon as possible even if they’re training individually to ensure the safety of their conditioning and intensity of their workouts.
  • Do not push yourself too hard: As COVID-19 best practices and guidelines have restricted the activity levels of many, athletes should slowly and cautiously increase their training and skill-building exercises. Cardiovascular and muscular strength may be inhibited from months of indoor sheltering. It is important to pay attention to your limits and pains to avoid injury, immunosuppression or illness. Building strength and endurance takes time, and even athletes who have remained active will have an adjustment period.
  • Exercise extra caution in the heat: With summer picking up, the risk of heat-related illness is high, especially for those who have remained indoors while following local COVID-19 guidelines. Athletes may need to slowly acclimate themselves to sun and heat and should stretch before activities, stay hydrated and keep primarily to shaded areas.

“We understand that athletes feel ready to return to the fields, courts and competitions, and we also know that this comes with a number of risks, including injury,” says Dr. Westerheide. “We are here for local athletes, and we provide the high-level, specialized care and recovery plans needed for sports-related injuries to ensure a safe return to play.”

Orthopedic Specialists & Sports Medicine offers safe in-office appointments at their state-of-the-art facility. Their providers also offer telehealth visits in addition to urgent care hours to provide consultation for bone, joint and muscle problems. Orthopedic Specialists & Sports Medicine’s Orthopedic Urgent Care offers immediate, specialized care for sprains, fractures, dislocations and other acute or sports-related injuries. Orthopedic Urgent Care is available at the practice’s office in Granville Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

To learn more or to schedule an appointment with the sports medicine experts at Orthopedic Specialists & Sports Medicine, please call (740) 788-9220.