Stay in the Game

Most of the injuries that sideline young athletes are preventable, says Teri McCambridge, MD, director of the Division of Sports Medicine at Cincinnati Children’s. Her team works closely with families to make sure kids are healthy and can get back to activities they enjoy.

Three things you must know going into fall sports to keep playing your best:

1. PACE YOURSELF  To prevent overuse injuries in running, start with a solid base of miles. Increase your mileage by no more than 10 percent a week, and replace your running shoes at least every 500 miles.

2. SEEK CARE FOR A CONCUSSION A concussion is an alteration in mental function after a traumatic event. It does not require an athlete to “black out.” If your child has an obvious head injury and seems different than normal, do not allow your child to return to play until a medical professional gives an evaluation.

3. STAY HYDRATED Dehydration can cause serious life-threatening complications. Encourage your child to drink fluids before, during and after practice. To gauge hydration, check urine color (dark urine is a sign of dehydration) or pre- and post- workout weights. Encourage your child to drink 16 ounces (480 ml) for every pound lost.


The Runner’s Clinic  at Cincinnati Children’s offers a complete runner-specific biomechanical exam that can help diagnose and correct issues that contribute to pain. Runners receive a video analysis of their running form and a treatment plan specific to their needs.


During the peak season of fall football and soccer, the Head Injury Clinic at Cincinnati Children’s treats 150 to 200 patients. Most athletes just want to get back in the game. The goal is to get them there safely, says Jason Hugentobler, a physical therapist who specializes in concussion rehabilitation. The Sports Medicine team does a physical exam, neurocognitive testing to measure brain injury, symptom scales, balance and posture assessments and specific exercises to help kids recover. “We don’t want to send a child back to sport prematurely and risk further injury,” Hugentobler says. “It’s important to get it managed early on, because if you allow it to persist, symptoms can linger.”

You can reach the Head Injury Clinic at 513-803-HEAD (4323).


Our Sports Medicine team offers an injury hotline during weekday business hours at 513-803-HURT (4878) for easy scheduling for new patients. For general questions, call 513-636-4366 or email


So many girls have been coming to Cincinnati Children’s with severe knee injuries that preventing ACL injuries has become a common theme in athletic training. Jump training is one way therapists at Cincinnati Children’s help athletes learn to reduce the risk. Neuromuscular training — or learning to land properly — can reduce ACL injuries.


An Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) tear happens because of a sudden, abrupt change in force to the knee. Girls have a higher risk of ACL injury because of a combination of factors, including the fact that the inward-facing angle from their pelvis to knee puts more stress on the joint.