Orthopedic surgeons conduct study on athletes’ overuse injuries

By Michael Aronson and Shawn Ma

Strength and conditioning coach Greg Bishop is helping a sports medicine study involving Harvard-Westlake student-athletes to determine whether there is a correlation between the amount of training for sports and risk of injury.

Bishop is coordinating his study with noted orthopedic surgeons from Los Angeles Children’s Hospital James Lee Pace and David Skaggs.

Skaggs, the chief of orthopedic surgery at the hospital, is working alongside Bishop to monitor training intensity with student athletes to ensure athlete safety at the same time as keeping workouts and training at a demanding level.

“[Skaggs and Pace] were interested in examining activity levels of student athletes and how that contributed to overuse injuries,” Bishop said.

Athletes willing to participate will fill out a waiver with their parents and then receive a questionnaire detailing their training schedules for their various sports.

They will record the general number of practices, games or matches, the number of sports played and the total time devoted to the various sports activities which they participate in.

After the questionnaires are returned, Bishop will consult the athletic training staff to match the athletes with their injury history.

The study is concerned with injuries caused by repeated overuse rather than acute or sudden injuries from trauma.

“We are focused on injuries kids need to see doctors for,” Bishop said. “We aren’t monitoring short term foot pains or other minor injuries.”

For example, the study is interested in shoulder injuries for water polo players, and knee tendinitis for runners.

“Athletes are now doing one sport 12 months out of the year, so there is constant training,” Bishop said. “Basketball players for example, are always on a basketball team. Once they finish the school season, they move right into club season.”

Bishop feels there will be a slight correlation between the amount of working out and risk of injury, but he doesn’t feel that it will be a significant one.