As the fall sports season moves forward in the wake of COVID-19, the specialty-trained sports medicine doctors at Lakeshore Bone & Joint Institute offer guidance for protecting the health and safety of student-athletes this year. Specialized bone, joint and muscle care is available in at the practice's locations in Chesterton, Crown Point, Knox, LaPorte, Michigan City, Munster, Portage, Schererville and Valparaiso. Athletes or parents and guardians can call (219) 921-1444 to schedule a safe in-office appointment. Telemedicine visits are also available for remote bone, joint and muscle care consultation, and their Orthopedic Urgent Care walk-in clinic is available at their Portage location at 3691 Willowcreek Road. 

“As team physicians for Valparaiso University, Indiana University Northwest and several area high schools, we are committed to keeping student-athletes safe and healthy,” says board-certified, fellowship-trained sports medicine surgeon Dr. Anthony Levenda of Lakeshore Bone & Joint Institute. “To help our local athletic community have a safe transition back to training and competition, the sports medicine team at Lakeshore Bone & Joint Institute has put together a list of guidelines for student-athletes, parents, guardians and coaches.”

During games, practices and workouts, student-athletes should exercise caution to both reduce the risk of viral spread and also reduce the risk of injury by adhering to these guidelines from Lakeshore Bone & Joint Institute:

  • Prioritize your health: This means taking your diet seriously as well well as getting the right amount of water and fluids. It also means being careful in the game and during practices and workouts and paying attention to your body to make sure you aren't overtraining. You should also practice good hygiene by washing your hands, avoiding touching your face, wearing face coverings when appropriate as well as avoiding close physical contact with those outside of your household.
  • Sports physicals are an important safety measure: While many schools and leagues require a pre-participation physical, if you have not gotten a physical, you should. Even if you are training individually or preparing for the winter season, a physical will help see where your health and fitness is now before training or workouts get more intensive.
  • Don't push too hard or too fast: COVID-19 measures have restricted the activity levels of many, and athletes will need to slowly increase training and skill-building exercises. Cardiovascular and muscular strength may need reconditioning after months of indoor sheltering, and it is important to pay attention to your limits and pains to avoid injury, illness or immunosuppression. Building strength and endurance takes time, and even athletes who have remained active will have an adjustment period.
  • Follow all COVID-19 rules that apply: In addition to social and physical distancing when able and respecting other guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, players, parents and coaches alike should abide by local, school, league and venue regulations set to reduce viral spread.
  • Be careful in the sun and heat: Heat-related illness is a high risk factor in the height of the summer. This is especially true for those who have stayed indoors more frequently while following in response to COVID-19 guidelines. Athletes may need to slowly acclimate themselves to sun and heat and should stretch before activities, stay hydrated and stay in the shade when they can.

“This year, know athletics can pose a number of risks, including the risk of injuries related to overtraining, slips, falls and other accidents,” says Dr. Levenda. “We are here for our local athletes, and we stand ready to provide highly specialized treatment and any return-to-play care plans they may need to get back in the game quickly and safely.”

Lakeshore Bone & Joint Institute offers safe appointments at their locations throughout the region. Their providers also offer orthopedic telemedicine visits so patients can access remote consultation for bone, joint and muscle problems from the comfort of their home or office. Additionally, immediate treatment for orthopedic injuries is available through their Orthopedic Urgent Care at the practice’s Portage location Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Walk-ins are welcome, and no appointment is necessary.

To learn more or to schedule an appointment with the sports medicine experts at Lakeshore Bone & Joint Institute, please call (219) 921-1444.