By Britney Else, DO
National Girls and Women in Sports Day was chartered by the U.S. Congress in 1986 to honor female athletic achievement and recognize the importance of sports and fitness participation for all girls and women.
Athletics, sports, and its community have had a profound impact on my life, career, health and future. At age of 4, I started t-ball and have continued to participate in athletics to this day. I was fortunate enough to be a collegiate athlete and varsity in two sports as a freshman. In the beginning, I found it hard, as my parents and uncle were my coaches, and I often wasn’t always a starter or got much play time. I later learned that they did not want to have a bias towards me. However, I have come to appreciate that restraint from my coaches as I learned about teamwork and belonging.
Sports has helped shape me into the mom, physician, and woman I am today. I learned about hard work on and off the court or field, which likely helped prepare me for medical school and the rigors of medical residency. I learned that my academic performance in high school and college could affect my ability to play, so I took school very seriously as well. I also learned a sense of accomplishment and pride when being chosen for scholarship, or all-state, or after winning a big game.
Athletics also steered my career into sports medicine, and it is a perfect fit for me to be able to treat athletes and return them to the sports they love. Most importantly, I feel sports and athletics has had the most profound impact on my health. I enjoy staying healthy through exercise and sports. I now enjoy coaching my young daughters in their early years of sports. I would like to share some benefits that sports can have for women of all ages.
8 Benefits for Girls and Women Who Participate in Sports:
- Increased mental and physical well-being
- Increased sense of belonging
- Increased academic performance
- Increased sense of self, accomplishment, and pride
- Increased work ethic, responsibility, and accountability
- Increased bone and muscle mass, in turn decreasing risk of osteoporosis
- Improved balance and coordination
- Decreased risk of chronic disease, cardiovascular disease and some cancers
National Girls and Women in Sports Day originally began as a day to remember Olympic volleyball player Flo Hyman for her athletic achievements and her work to assure equality for women’s sports. Hyman died of Marfan’s Syndrome in 1986 while competing in a volleyball tournament in Japan. Since that time, the day has evolved into an acknowledgement of the past and recognition of current sports achievements, the positive influence of sports participation, and the continuing struggle for equality and access for women in sports.
Please join us in congratulating Dr. Stanley on a remarkable career. He was the first sports medicine fellowship-trained physician in Oklahoma and has mentored many physicians in this growing field over the years.
Dr. Stanley is originally from Sperry, Oklahoma and attended Oral Roberts University for his undergraduate degree. He earned his MD at the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine. He earned his fellowship in sports medicine from The Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio.
Over the years, Dr. Stanley has served the community in a number of roles, including team physician for The University of Tulsa, Oral Roberts University, the Tulsa Drillers, Union High School, Tulsa Ballet, and the Tulsa Shock. Additionally, he has appeared as a regular on the local “Ask the Doc” radio program for 18 years. He previously served as co-director of the sports medicine fellowship program at the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine. He was also the team physician for football teams that played in the Soviet Union, Estonia, New Zealand and Australia.
“To everything, there is a time and a season. This is the time and season for me to transition into my next phase of life. My calling and mission are the same – to continue to help people in need, but in a different way,” Dr. Stanley says.
Tulsa Bone & Joint will greatly miss Dr. Stanley and is immensely grateful for his numerous contributions.
By Caleb Nunley, MD
We are fortunate in the Tulsa area to have The Gathering Place and multiple other fun parks. Unfortunately, though, in orthopedics, we see multiple playground injuries. I thought it might be helpful to share some tips on playground safety in hopes of avoiding and preventing some of the most common injuries.
Below are some tips and general guidelines:
1) The child should always wear shoes to avoid splinters and cuts.
2) Sunscreen and plenty of water are important on hot summer days.
3) Make sure the playground has a soft surface underneath the equipment. This needs to extend several feet away from the equipment. This could be rubber, mulch, sand or other materials. The most common emergency room visit from a playground injury is from a fall. Also, check to ensure that the playground is well maintained. Equipment that is poorly maintained may have sharp edges, be unstable or rusty. If the playground equipment is wet, it increases the risk of slipping and falling, and if the equipment is hot, it is a risk for burns.
4) Make sure that the child is playing on developmentally appropriate equipment and utilizes the equipment appropriately.
- Monkey Bars: the child should be using for climbing and not acrobatic stunts.
- Swings: should not be used for jumping off of. Also, make sure children are aware when walking in front of swings.
- Slides: the child should never climb up the front of the slide. (As a parent of a two year old myself, I know this one is especially tough). The child should sit down on their bottom facing forward as they go down and should move away from the bottom of the slide as soon as they reach the ground. An important note is that toddlers should not go down the slide on a parent’s lap. This has been shown repeatedly to be a risk for leg fractures. Fractures/breaks can happen in multiple ways, including when the toddler’s leg is caught underneath the parent, when the child’s leg is caught on the side of the slide, and when the force of the parent accompanying them down breaks the leg.
5) Supervision is likely the most important factor in preventing injuries. This includes providing children guidance on the proper use of equipment, as well as monitoring and adhering to playground safety rules.
We hope you don’t need us, but if there is an orthopedic injury, please give us a call at 918-392-1400! Most importantly, have fun! Stay safe and happy playing!
As a former collegiate athlete myself, I try to keep the athlete’s best interest at heart. With the recent recommendations from the AMSSM and AOSSM, my job as a sports medicine physician is to help educate athletes, parents and coaches about the dangers of sports specialization at a young age.
According to a study by the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2018, athletes who specialize in a single sport are 81% more likely to experience an overuse injury. However, multi-sport athletes have less potential for injuries, burnout and have a higher likelihood of scholarship opportunities at the college level.
Studies suggest that early sports specialization engages frequent repetitive movement, which leads to higher stress in muscles, ligaments and tendons. In a growing child, this is a perfect storm for injury patterns to develop. This in turn leads to burnout and decreased athletic performance.
How to prevent burnout and overuse injuries:
- Limiting repetitive movement in sport and training, for example, high pitch counts during practice and games.
- Preseason conditioning programs and 2+ hours a week in injury prevention training can reduce the risk of injury.
- Plan on periods of isolated and focused integrative neuromuscular training to enhance diverse motor skill development and reduce injury risk factors.
- Ideally, give yourself two consecutive months/year away from the specialized sport to allow the body to recover.
- To reduce the likelihood of burnout, emphasis should be placed on skill development rather the competition or winning.
Multi-sport athletes tend to be better athletes and have the potential for collegiate scholarships and professional contracts. Encourage your athlete to have fun, and remember: If they are not, they may be suffering from burnout or an overuse injury.
To honor our 31 amazing doctors, we are starting a Doctor of the Month tribute. The Doctor of the Month for May is John C. Balbas, MD. Dr. Balbas is a sports medicine fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon who specializes in joint replacement and a number of procedures for the shoulders, knees, hips, elbows, and ankles. To top it off, Dr. Balbas is also the Physician for Broken Arrow High School. To find out more or to make an appointment with Dr. Balbas, call 918-392-1400.