Sports Medicine

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Participation in athletics is both an enjoyable pastime and a part of keeping physically and mentally fit. Some individuals may only be interested in general conditioning and weight loss, while others may want specific exercises for certain events. Regardless of the activity, risks are always involved, and today's physician must be able to not only treat the various injuries that arise , but also offer counsel on a wide range of other interrelated subjects.(Berger 294) Sports medicine is the prevention and treatment of injuries suffered by athletes in sporting activities. An athlete is anyone who engages in any kind of sport, from those who walk for exercise to those who play competitive sports.(Darden XI) Athletes not only need treatment for sports injuries but as well help or advice related to sports activities. In the past such people would go to their doctor or coach and get standard medical or athletic attention. Now, more and more athletes are turning to experts in the field of sports medicine.(Berger 2) Sports medicine encompasses a wide variety of specialties. In the following report, adherence to a balanced diet, prevention of injuries and first aid, will be looked at. As well, the history and importance of sports medicine and why there is a need for this field of medicine. HISTORY Sports Medicine has long been available to the injured athlete. An Egyptian surgical manual written during the era of the Old Kingdom - more than 4000 years ago - explained treatments for sprains and dislocations. Hippocrates(460-377 BC), the ancient Greek honored as the father of medicine, described surgery to repair a dislocated shoulder noting that, " Many persons owing to this accident have been obliged to abandon gymnastic exercises." (Edelson 18) The idea that athletes need special care goes all the way back to ancient Greece. In those days the sports medicine doctors were called gymnasts, a Greek word that originally referred to those who trained and treated athletes.(Berger 9) Over the following centuries sports medicine dropped in importance. Populations were diminishing due to disease, plagues and starvation. Doctors were extremely limited by the drugs and treatments that were available. They were mostly concerned with the patients survival. Since sports was such a small part of daily life, they saw little need to develop this branch of medicine.(Berger 9-10) These unfortunate circumstances remained the same until the end of the 1800's, around the time of re-interest in sports, particularly in the Olympics. The first book in English on sports medicine was published in 1898.(Edelson 19) Three pioneer sports scientists, Robert Osgood, P.D. Wilson, and Gus Thorndike, established the first fitness laboratory at Harvard University in 1919.(Berger 10) The International Congress of Sports Medicine was founded in 1928, and the American College of Sports Medicine followed, in 1954. These organizations began the growth of a branch of medicine whose practicing professionals treat millions of patients yearly, in North America and abroad.( Edelson 19) Nutrition Nutrition is very important in sports medicine. For an athlete to stay in top shape, the body must get a wide range of nutrients to assist its physiological development. The right diet is the first step. Estimates of what constitutes a prudent diet vary somewhat, but most experts agree on the basics. The only difference between what an athlete and a nonathlete should eat is a slightly higher intake from the breads and cereal group for those who do a lot of endurance training. FOOD GROUP *SERVINGS PRINCIPAL FOODS Milk 3-4 Cheese, milk, yogurt, cottage cheese Meat 2 Meat, poultry, fish, eggs (also beans) Vegetables and Fruit 1 Vitamin C: citrus fruits and juices 1 Vitamin A: carrots, broccoli, greens 2 White potatoes, other vegetables Breads and Cereals 4 Whole-grain and enriched breads cereals; rice; pasta; noodles Extras 2-4 Butter, vegetable oils, honey, candies desserts, carbonated beverages ( * minimum number of daily servings for young adults) (Edelson 45) Eating for Maximum Performance The following important points for maximizing athletic performance and level of health were born from the large body of research that has been done on proper diet and good nutrition. - Most athletes need a higher than average energy, or calorie, intake. The best sources for those calories are the grains, dried fruit, breads, and pastas. - Complex carbohydrates are vital because they contain minerals and vitamins, as well as the elements for the basic blood sugar, glucose. Simple carbohydrates, in the form of fruit, juices, and honey, are also valuable, although the simple ones in candy bars and other sweets are "empty calories," without other nutrients. Candy bars or other such stimulants actually deplete glycogen levels. - A prudent diet requires neither protein supplements nor vitamin or mineral supplements. Women athletes do need to watch their iron levels, though, and vegetarians should consult a doctor about their special needs, such as taking B12 vitamins - Supplements such as salt tablets, bee pollen, wheat germ, amino acids, and other "magic-action" ingredients are generally considered unnecessary additions to a healthy diet. - It is important to replace sweat and other fluids by drinking large amounts of water. (Edelson 42) * Carbohydrate consumption and rest before an event will best replenish muscle glycogen. Prevention of Injuries The most effective means of minimizing the complications of sports injuries is prevention, and the first step to prevention is a complete physical examination. This is especially important for youth and should take place even before conditioning begins. Special attention should be paid to those areas that will be most involved in the athletic activity, and all musculotendinous disorders or abnormalities should be noted. The frequency and severity of many injuries may then be lessened by proper conditioning and preparation.(Mercier 294) Conditioning Proper conditioning means the development of strength, endurance, cardiovascular fitness, power, and flexibility. It also includes the development of proper body mechanics, forms, and agility. Lower extremity injuries can generally be lessened by strengthening exercises. Stretching exercises can be used to avoid muscular strains. Staying in shape during the off-season may involve running stairs and jogging in place at home.(Mercier 294) Warming Up Beginning any activity gradually will reduce the incidence of injury, especially injury to the muscle-tendon unit. Stretching is especially important to avoid strain. Flexibility is often diminished after a long period of inactivity, and stretching is particularly important when resuming a sport. Two types of stretching exercises may be performed. Static stretching is a slow, gradual stretching through full movement, and holding at the position for ten to twenty seconds before relaxing. A pulling sensation, not pain, should be felt. Ballistic stretching, which involves rapid, repetitive movements, is also occasionally used but is generally less effective and may even cause minor muscular tears. It is usually not recommended.(Mercier 295) Cooling Off Proper habits after rigorous exercise permit muscles to cool off adequately and to dissipate heat. After running, it is usually advised not to simply stand still or lie supine but to walk for five to ten minutes and then rest in a sitting position. This may be especially important for the cardiac status of the individual. If the exercise is stopped abruptly, blood pooling can occur in the legs causing syncope, Hypertension, and arrhythymias.(Mercier 295) First Aid The American Red Cross defines first aid as "the immediate care given to a person who has been injured or has suddenly been taken ill." First aid is immediate aid. Every effort should be made to get the injured athlete to advanced care. This first aid administrator should stabilize the victim and then arrange for transportation. A basic understanding of self-help and home care begins with the first aid kit. There are many places that athletes need a first aid

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