Service Line Update: Returning to Play During a Pandemic

Premier Pulse     August 2020
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By Paula Thompson, president and CEO, Fidelity Health Care

This pandemic may forever change how we work, play, and live. As our communities began to reopen school facilities, the Premier Health Sports Medicine leadership team gathered information and formulated guidelines for evaluating optimal processes such as screenings, infection control, and safety measures for students and staff. The leadership team had the safety and well-being of our student athletes and communities top of mind in guiding our 38 school partners back to activity in the safest and most appropriate manner. Not only did the group offer information related to the safe return of sports but also how to manage the “return to play.”

There is certainly no definitive roadmap for success, but our sports medicine leadership team of Jeffrey James, DO; Michael Barrow, MD; Jeffery Rayborn, MD; and Timothy Linker, MD, continue to provide support and reassurance to the athletic directors and sports staff for our school partners. The team also provides guidance to student athletes and parents to help them decide if they are comfortable with returning to training and competition.

Another focus for sports medicine in 2020 is the nutritional and mental health of the athlete. Sports performance consultations are provided to student athletes who have a concern related to nutrition, hydration, sleep, training routine, or mental health. It also provides guidance for athletes who want individualized information about sports performance and overall wellness.

“The visits include a detailed assessment; lab workup, if indicated; and customized plan for each athlete's specific goals,” said Aloiya Earl, MD, of Premier Orthopedics. “Common concerns I address include trouble gaining muscle weight, disordered eating, insomnia, sports-related anxiety, panic disorder, anxiety returning to activity after an injury, supplement misuse, performance plateaus, and energy deficiency.”

Premier Health is committed to building healthier communities. Our goal in sports medicine is to assist the facilitation of creating the healthiest and safest sports environment possible, while navigating through this unprecedented time. The COVID-19 pandemic has created many challenges. However, our schools and communities are strong, and together our partnerships will move us forward. We will be successful in reaching the new normal.

Back to the August 2020 issue of Premier Pulse

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