Florida Department Of Health Recognizes National Athletic Training Month

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As part of National Athletic Training Month, the Florida Department of Health (DOH) and Florida Board of Athletic Training are encouraging young athletes, their parents and coaches to learn more about prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of sports injuries. "The physical activity that comes from team sports can contribute greatly to a healthy childhood," DOH Secretary Ana M. Viamonte Ros, M.D., M.P.H., said. "We must be conscious, however, that children's bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments are still growing, which makes them more susceptible to injury. What is often a bruise or sprain in an adult can be a potentially serious growth plate injury in a young athlete."

Certified athletic trainers and orthopedic surgeons have observed an alarming increase in adult-type athletic injuries among children and adolescents. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 3.5 million sports-related injuries in children under age 15 were treated in the U.S. in 2003. While team sports are a great way for kids to improve physical fitness, coordination and self-discipline, they can also result in injuries such as sore shoulders, swollen knees and other ailments that, if not taken seriously, can become chronic later in life.

"Nothing can replace having a licensed athletic trainer on site to provide immediate care and treatment of injuries or illnesses and make return to play decisions after an injury has occurred," Marisa Brunett, MS, ATC, LAT, Past- President of The Athletic Trainers' Association of Florida and current member of the National Athletic Trainers' Association Public Relations Committee said. "Parents can be reassured their child's health and safety is in the hands of a qualified health care professional."

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Most experts believe the surge in youth sports injuries come from "overuse syndrome." Since many children are playing the same sport constantly instead of participating in a variety of activities, experts suggest cross-training in moderation throughout the year to prevent one areafrom becoming overworked and stressed. Young athletes are also encouraged to warm-up before beginning any activity, take rest breaks, replenish fluids, and cool down and stretch after play.

Parents and coaches should encourage pre-participation exams, instruct and practice proper techniques, be alert to injuries, hold practices and games with adequate rest days built into the schedule and have an emergency plan in place.

In addition to working with the young athletic population, physically active individuals of all ages also benefit from the care and rehabilitation provided by athletic trainers.

Certified athletic trainers (CATs) are medical professionals who specialize in the prevention, assessment, treatment and rehabilitation of injuries and illnesses that occur to athletes and the physically active. The Florida Board of Athletic Training, whose members are appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Florida Senate, is a ten-member panel comprised of eight professionals and two members from non-health care related fields. The board protects the health and safety of Florida's residents and visitors by establishing requirements for licensure and through diligent discipline of practitioners.

For more information about preventing youth sports injuries and National Athletic Training Month, please visit the Board of Athletic Training website at www.doh.state.fl.us/mqa/athtrain.

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