Shriners Children’s sports injury care teams include an array of pediatric specialists – including therapists, prosthetists, surgeons and more – who work collaboratively to develop a deep understanding of each patient and their injuries. The team’s collaborative and innovative approach to caring for young athletes is allowing more kids to get back to the activities they love.
Pushing for excellence
Gabe, 18, a star lacrosse player from Monson, Massachusetts, experienced this teamwork firsthand. Gabe was competing in his final high school season and had secured a scholarship to play Division II lacrosse at American International College in Springfield, Massachusetts. But in the first play of the first game at a regional tournament, a devastating knee injury ended his season and clouded his future plans.
Gabe and his family sought treatment at Shriners Children’s New England, where imaging showed he had suffered an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear and a partially torn meniscus, injuries that would require surgical repair and a lengthy rehabilitation. Fearing his college scholarship and athletic career could be in jeopardy, Gabe committed to doing whatever it would take to get back on the field.
Gabe underwent surgery and post-operative rehabilitation at Shriners Children’s. He participated in the facility’s return-to-sport program, working closely with physical therapists Erin and Jenn, and athletic trainer Jon.
“My recovery was hard, but each day Erin, Jenn and Jon pushed me to be my best,” said Gabe. “They supported me every step of the way.”
Meeting demand in the U.S. and beyond
For young athletes in training, having access to top sports health and medicine can make all the difference. That’s why Shriners Children’s is growing its sports medicine programs in locations across North America, hiring more medical team members with expertise in pediatric sports medicine, participating in research to learn how best to treat kids’ injuries and establishing community partners.
The Shriners Children’s healthcare system has the knowledge and resources to care for more kids in more places. The Pacific Northwest now benefits from an enhanced program at Shriners Children’s Portland. Ahmad Bayomy, M.D., came to the Portland hospital from Shriners Children’s New England, where he helped build that location’s sports health and medicine program. Now he is excited to bring new ideas to Portland.
“We are developing the program in Portland more broadly, including recruiting care team members in the hospital,” said Dr. Bayomy. “We are defining care processes for patients and establishing community partners involved in the care of recreational and competitive athletes, including sports psychologists and strength and conditioning coaches.”
Dr. Bayomy is working with colleagues across the Shriners Children’s system in athletic training, physical therapy, occupational therapy and non-surgical sports medicine. Alongside Shriners Children’s Portland sports medicine specialists Jeremy Bauer, M.D.; Krister Freese, M.D.; Heather Kong, M.D.; and Dominique Laron, M.D., Dr. Bayomy is eager to get the program up and running. The collective approach to patient care allows the location to grow its program, empowering a strong team of individuals who are passionate about helping student athletes get back to the playing field.
Across the continent, the sports medicine program at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Canada is also growing. The sports medicine team, led by Dr. Thierry Pauyo, is made up of an interdisciplinary team of specialists who work together to coordinate personalized care plans for active youth. Through educational opportunities and screening clinics, they help provide preventive care and early detection of injuries to reduce the risk of potential injuries. By reaching out to the community, the sports medicine team is filling a void in the sports pediatric care landscape with the mission of reducing delays in treatment, improving recovery outcomes, enhancing the quality of care and enabling young people to safely do the activities they love.
The Canada program recently welcomed two new team members, sports therapist consultant Matthew Romano, and Justin Drager, M.D., a dual fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist.
Reaching peak performance
Graduating from the return-to-sport program just before the start of the college lacrosse season, Gabe was named a starting player, and he had his own fan base in the stands: His Shriners Children’s care team attended a game and cheered him on.
Looking back, Gabe recognized that his injury required mental and physical recovery. “I just tried to be 1% better than yesterday,” he said. “Now, I feel like I am at my peak performance and, thanks to Shriners Children’s, I never even think about my knee when I play. It’s awesome.”