As school districts and athletic leagues prepare to resume practices after COVID-19 closures, the specialty-trained sports medicine doctors at Sierra Pacific Orthopedics offer guidance for protecting the health and safety of local student-athletes. Athletes or parents and guardians seeking specialized bone, joint and muscle care are encouraged to call (559) 256-5200 to schedule a safe appointment at their Herndon Campus or Orthopedic Urgent Care at 1630 E. Herndon Ave. or their Spruce Campus (Spine Center) at 1270 E. Spruce Ave.
"Student-athletes' safety in the game and out in the world is our highest priority," says Dr. Rod Kraft, board-certified sports medicine doctor at Sierra Pacific Orthopedics. "To ensure they have the safest transition possible back to their school and sports activities, our team of sports medicine experts and I have developed a comprehensive list of guidelines and principles to keep in mind as athletics resume."
Student-athletes should exercise caution to not only reduce the risk of viral spread in groups but also to reduce the risk of injury by adhering to these protocols and strategies:
- Know your school or league’s best practices and follow them: 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.
- Complete a sports physical: 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.
- Take it slow: As state COVID-19–related 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, and it is important to pay attention to your limits and pains to avoid injury, illness or immunosuppression. Building strength and endurance takes time, and even athletes who have remained active will have an adjustment period.
- Make personal health and hygiene priority: 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.
"We understand that athletes, as well as their parents and coaches, feel ready for athletics and regular activities to come back, and we also know that this comes with a number of risks, including injury," says Dr. Robert Gousse, fellowship-trained sports medicine doctor at Sierra Pacific Orthopedics. "We are here for our local athletes, and we provide high-level, specialized care and rehabilitative plans for pain and injuries to ensure a safe return to play."
While Sierra Pacific Orthopedics offers safe appointments in their offices, their providers also offer telemedicine visits in addition to walk-in clinic hours to provide consultation for bone, joint and muscle problems. Sierra Pacific Orthopedics' Orthopedic Urgent Care offers immediate, specialized care for sprains, fractures, dislocations and other acute or sports-related injuries. Their Orthopedic Urgent Care is available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday, 9 a.m. to noon.
To learn more or to schedule an appointment with the sports medicine experts at Sierra Pacific Orthopedics, please call (559) 256-5200.