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Ensuring a safe sports season

August 24, 2015
Dr. Joseph Lellman

As the summer draws to a close and the new school year looms ahead, student athletes at all levels will be starting their new fall sports season with high expectations.

“Avoiding injury is a fundamental aspect of athletic success, which most athletes take for granted,” said Dr. Joseph Lellman, Orthopedic Surgeon at BMP- Mary Lane Orthopedics. “Although many traumatic injuries are the result of unavoidable accidents, especially in collision sports like football, most overuse injuries, and many traumatic injuries, can be avoided with proper preseason and in season training.”

“Although it is a little too late now to start getting ready for the fall sports season, the old saying, better late than never applies,” said Dr. Lellman. “Flexibility, strength, and endurance are the hallmarks of physical fitness. Aerobic conditioning should include a graduated running program, with gradually increasing distances/times, and intensities/speeds. Agility training should be added after a solid base of mileage has been gained.”

“Static stretching, used to stretch muscles while the body is at rest, should be performed after a good warmup, or at the conclusion of the workout,” added Dr. Lellman. “Strengthening exercises should begin with the core, and should include all muscle groups of the upper and lower extremities as well. Core exercises and weight training should be done 2-3 times per week in the off season, and less frequently during the season.”

“Always remember that it is important to warm up and stay hydrated for practice just as you would for a game,” said Dr. Lellman offering the following pre-season tips:

• Remember if protective gear is required for a game, it’s important for practice, too.

• Make sure all protective gear is the right size and properly adjusted. Replace running shoes regularly and make sure that helmets and mouth guards fit well and are not excessively worn.

• Never “play through” an injury. Get immediate help from a coach or trainer, and be sure to mention everything that hurts or aches.

• Rest often and rehydrate with water or an electrolyte sports drink. In two hours of activity, student athletes can lose a quart of fluid by sweating.

• Follow the rules. In most sports, the rules are based on not only sportsmanship, but safety.

• Make sure responsible adults know and enforce the safety rules of the sport and are trained in first aid and CPR.

Dr. Joseph Lellman’s lifelong involvement in sports drew him to orthopedics and orthopedic surgery. From simple fracture care to the latest in orthopedic surgical procedures, he tells of a passion in orthopedic medicine and how much joy he finds in restoring function and returning his patients to their normal daily activities. Dr. Lellman, an avid cyclist who has been involved in competitive road and cyclocross racing since 1993, has a long history and love for sports. A board member of the Pioneer Valley chapter of the Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition (MassBike) and team physician for the Northampton High School football team for the last ten years, Dr. Lellman also enjoys snowboarding and cross country skiing. His love, experience, and understanding of the challenges and risks for a sports related injury give him a greater compassion for the patients he treats. Dr. Lellman sees patients in two locations, at Baystate Mary Lane Hospital in Ware and 95 Sargent Street , Rt. 9 in Belchertown, for more information or an appointment call 413-967-2577.