Pediatric Sports Medicine

Integrated Team for the Evaluation and Treatment of Sports Injuries

At the pediatric and adolescent sports medicine program at the Ronald McDonald® Children’s Hospital at Loyola University Medical Center, orthopaedic surgeons, pediatricians, family doctors, physical therapists and athletic trainers all trained in the care of pediatric and adolescent sports medicine work as an integrated team to evaluate and treat children with sports-related medical problems.

Because young athletes are still growing, they have a higher risk of being injured than adults. Loyola Medicine’s pediatric sports medicine doctors begin with a focus on prevention, helping coaches, parents and young athletes play smart. While sports injuries often can be prevented, they can and do happen at all age levels. Loyola’s pediatric sports medicine specialists are experienced in treating a range of problems and injuries including:

  • Broken bones
  • Concussion Program
  • Distal radial epiphysitis or “gymnast’s wrist”
  • Exercise-induced asthma (bronchospasm)
  • Groin pull
  • Growth plate injuries
  • Hamstring strains
  • Knee injuries, including ACL tears
  • Lower back injuries
  • Medial epicondyle apophysitis or “little league elbow”
  • Muscle and tendon injuries
  • Osgood-Schlatter disease
  • Overuse injuries
  • Patellar tendinitis or “jumper’s knee”
  • Shin splints
  • Spine stress fractures
  • Sprained ankles
  • Sprained ligaments
  • Stress fractures
  • Swimmer’s shoulder​

At Loyola, your child’s doctor will consider therapeutic, medical and surgical options for sports injuries. Our goal is to reduce your child’s pain and get him or her back to normal activities through the least invasive treatment possible. Loyola’s highly trained rehabilitation specialists provide therapy as a primary treatment option and as a follow-up to surgical treatment. Your child’s sports medicine specialist may recommend any of the following options:

  • Arthroscopic surgery 
  • Braces to immobilize injured joints
  • Comprehensive physical therapy
  • Concussion management
  • Return-to-play exercise programs

Why Choose Loyola for Pediatric Sports Medicine?

Loyola’s sports medicine team includes orthopaedic surgeons, pediatricians and family medicine doctors all trained in the care of pediatric and adolescent sports medicine. We take a multidisciplinary approach to care, working with other specialists, trainers, physical therapists and athletes themselves to create an individualized plan of care.

Our experienced staff looks to find the root cause of every injury, whether it is mechanics, volume of play, equipment, inflexibility or strength deficits. Our goal is to develop a plan to eliminate pain and allow your child to return to normal activities. 

We work together with the athletic trainers of local high schools and colleges to provide improved seamless continuity of care for all young athletes, especially for prolonged concussion patients. We take extra care so that patients heal thoroughly and don't repeat injuries.

Specialized Services to Diagnose and Treat Athletic Injuries in Children and Teens

Loyola’s pediatric sports medicine specialists are uniquely trained to diagnose and treat a wide spectrum of athletic injuries in children and teens. Our team is focused on the health and well-being of your child and aims to help your child rejoin all enjoyable activities. 

  • Concussion program — Includes a rapid response team of specialists from the departments of sports medicine, neurology and neuropsychology, all of whom are trained to treat and manage sports-related concussion in patients of any age. Our concussion experts are able to see an athlete suspected of suffering a concussion within 24 to 48 hours. Contact us at 708-216-4263 or learn more about our sports concussion program.

Sports Injury Prevention Tips for Young Athletes

Because young athletes are still growing, they have a higher risk of being injured. Loyola focuses on prevention, helping coaches, parents and young athletes to play smart. Loyola’s pediatric sports medicine doctors recommend:

  • Achieving ideal conditioning to play
  • Developing optimal performance mechanics
  • Knowing when to stop when very tired or in pain
  • Learning to warm up properly
  • Staying hydrated
  • Using appropriate equipment and safety gear

If a child develops pain or other concerning symptoms that affect athletic performance, the child should be examined by a doctor. Never encourage a child to "work through the pain,” which could lead to further injuries. Overdoing a sport over a long time can impair a child’s growth or lead to more serious long-term health conditions.

Advanced, Ongoing Research for Young Athletes

Loyola’s sports medicine specialists have been leaders in research examining young athletes who increase their risk of injury by playing only one sport year-round. Additional research looks at a link between overuse injury rates in young athletes and their socioeconomic status.