Newswise – MAYWOOD, IL – As students return to school this fall, athletic physicians at Loyola Medicine say the risk of exposure to COVID-19 in student athletes is low.
As the Delta variant of COVID-19 continues to spread in the United States, Nathaniel Jones, MD, athletic physician for Loyola Medicine, emphasizes the importance of getting the vaccine. “The Delta variant is at higher risk in young children and the immunocompromised. The best defense against infection with COVID-19 is vaccination.”
The COVID-19 vaccine has been shown to be effective in preventing serious infections requiring hospitalization or potentially fatal infection. Since not all people are eligible to receive the vaccine, the second most important line of defense is the proper use of masks, especially indoors or in crowds. Because COVID-19 is a respiratory virus and spreads through the air when infected people breathe, cough, and sneeze, social distancing is also important. The masks act as a filter and the distance keeps people away from virus particles in the air.
According to Dr. Jones, “Indoor contact sports and football see a slightly increased risk of transmission, but the overall risk remains minimal and most transmissions occur outside of sport. Our priorities have not changed for COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. If you follow the directions and take the proper precautions, you can greatly minimize the risk of getting infected. “
Despite the low risk of exposure to COVID-19 for student athletes, acclimatization to increased activity level is another challenge for students returning to sport this year.
“A lot of the students haven’t been diligent in maintaining their activity level this summer, so they can start from scratch,” said Pietro Tonino, MD, orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine program director at Loyola Medicine. . “They’re more likely to get injured the more they get back into the sport, and their first 3-4 weeks of training turns into conditioning time.
Dr. Jones recommends training at cooler times throughout the day, staying hydrated, and tracking progress by starting slowly as you work your way up.
Stacey Bennis, MD, athletic physician for Loyola Medicine, is already seeing an increase in appointments across all age groups as people work to increase their activity levels and schools and gyms reopen. “We are now seeing a slight increase in sports injuries, whereas over the past year we have seen more arthritis and slip and fall injuries.”
Dr Bennis stresses the importance of slowing down as people get back into shape to avoid acute sports injuries; the most common are knee injuries, muscle and tendon tears, ankle sprains, shoulder injuries in throwing athletes, and stress fractures (especially in female athletes).
“The number of women with these injuries is on the rise as they return to exercise after a busy year juggling family care and overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dr Bennis. “Resuming exercise after so much free time only increases the risk of injury.”
Dr Bennis and the sports medicine team at Loyola Medicine take a multidisciplinary approach, combining physical therapy with OB / GYN, urogynecology and pain management care, to address these key differences between women and men. “At any age, my patient population tends to favor women, so it is important for me to make sure that I am providing patients with an adequate treatment plan that is specific to their demographics. “
As school begins for many children this month, Dr. Jones is also emphasizing the social and mental benefits of getting kids back to sport in addition to the physical benefits. “At the height of the pandemic, students missed out on the psychological and physical benefits of school sport, as well as the socialization of being with their peers every day. Returning to sport this year will benefit their well-being as a whole, even as the pandemic continues around us. “
To make an appointment, visit loyolamedicine.org.
About Loyola Medicine
Loyola Medicine, a member of Trinity Health, is a nationally-ranked academic and quaternary healthcare system based in the western suburbs of Chicago. The three-hospital system includes Loyola University Medical Center, Gottlieb Memorial Hospital and MacNeal Hospital, as well as convenient locations providing primary care, specialty care and immediate care services from more than 1,800 physicians in the counties by Cook, Will and DuPage. Loyola is a 547-bed licensed hospital in Maywood that includes the William G. & Mary A. Ryan Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine, Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, a Level 1 trauma center, the largest burn center in the ‘Illinois, a certified comprehensive stroke center and children’s hospital. Loyola also trains the next generation of caregivers through its academic affiliation with the Stritch School of Medicine at Loyola University in Chicago and the Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing. Gottlieb is a 247-bed licensed community hospital in Melrose Park with the newly renovated Judd A. Weinberg Emergency Department, Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care, and Loyola Cancer Care & Research at Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center. MacNeal is a 374-bed teaching hospital in Berwyn with state-of-the-art medical, surgical and psychiatric services, acute rehabilitation, a skilled inpatient nursing facility, and a 68-bed behavioral health program and community clinics. Loyola Medical Group, a team of primary and specialty care physicians, provides care at over 15 facilities in the Chicago area. For more information visit loyolamedicine.org. You can also follow Loyola Medicine on LinkedIn, Facebook Where Twitter.
About Trinity Health
Trinity Health is one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic health care delivery systems in the country, serving diverse communities comprising over 30 million people in 22 states. Trinity Health includes 92 hospitals, as well as 100 continuing care facilities that include PACE programs, senior residences, and home and palliative care services. Its continuing care programs provide nearly 2.5 million visits per year. Based in Livonia, Mich., And with annual operating revenues of $ 18.8 billion and assets of $ 30.5 billion, the organization donates $ 1.3 billion to its communities each year under form of charitable programs and other community benefit programs. Trinity Health employs approximately 123,000 colleagues, including 6,800 salaried physicians and clinicians. Committed to those who are poor and underserved in its communities, Trinity Health is known for its concern for the country’s aging population. As a single, unified ministry, the organization is the innovator of senior emergency services, the largest nonprofit home health service provider – ranked by number of visits – in the country, as well as the main supplier of PACE in the country. (All-inclusive care program for the elderly) depending on the number of programs available. For more information visit trinity-health.org. You can also follow Trinity Health on LinkedIn, Facebook Where Twitter.