Football season is in full swing at Quad City area high schools. And among the families, coaches, and players cheering for victory are team physicians like Dr. Matthew Lindaman, an ORA Orthopedics’ sports medicine doctor for the North Scott Lancers.
Dr. Lindaman, a North Scott alumnus, not only played for the Lancers, but also met his wife and raised his children in the district. (His 3 oldest children wore Lancer jerseys for football, softball, volleyball, and basketball.) So he knows something about the thrill of victory and the agony of injury.
“For 3 generations, the Lindamans have worn the scarlet and silver with pride,” he says.
“High school sports let you see kids with such a high level of intensity and passion for not only their own play, but for school spirit. I love being around the sports teams and coaching staff with their energy and enthusiasm. And as a team physician, it’s especially important to work together and keep our athletes safe.”
Quad City Team Doctors
Dr. Lindaman is one of 12 ORA team physicians for Quad City area high schools, universities, and professional teams – the largest contingent of team physicians in the region.
“As sports medicine physicians, we enjoy watching and treating local athletes, from little leaguers to the professionals. Our first priority is safety, but if an injury occurs on the field or in the gym, our goal is to ensure treatment and rehabilitation focus on restoring an athlete’s health so he or she can return to play.”
One increasingly common injury of concern for physicians, parents, and coaching staff is sports-related concussions.
“Most people think concussions only occur in football, but volleyball, baseball, and soccer players suffer them as well,” Dr. Lindaman explains.
According to the American Association of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 200,000 people in the United States suffer concussions while playing sports every year. Concussions affect all athletes, from professional players to the youngest players in elementary school.
The AAOS defines concussions as “mildly traumatic brain injuries, resulting from violent shaking. A concussion happens when a force causes the brain to rapidly move back and forth inside the skull. This may be caused by either a direct blow or by a blow to the body that forces the head to quickly rotate.”
Dr. Lindaman says due to the potential for long-term complications from a sports concussion, coaches, parents, and athletes need to know the symptoms. They include drowsiness, headache, loss of consciousness or memory, dizziness, or balance problems, to name a few.
If a physician suspects a concussion, he or she will check an athlete’s memory and assess his or her balance. In some cases, an MRI or CT scan may be ordered to determine the extent of the concussion.
“One aspect sports medicine physicians are very clear on is that an athlete who suffers from a concussion must rest completely before returning to play,” says Dr. Lindaman. “We don’t want them jumping back into practice or games right away.
“Once an athlete is free of symptoms, they can begin to gradually return to moderate activity. Slow and steady wins this race.”
Dr. Lindaman says it’s important parents and coaches recognize the symptoms of a concussion and seek treatment immediately.
“Athletes can downplay pain or injury because they fear losing playing time. It’s important that we – as parents, coaches, and physicians – stay vigilant and step in to make the right call to protect their health. In most cases, athletes who suffer from concussions can be back on the field after a couple of weeks of rest — stronger and wiser for the experience.”
Dr. Lindaman says research is ongoing about the effects of repeated concussions and that athletes should learn proper athletic technique and follow the rules of their sports to help prevent injury.
For more information regarding sports concussions, visit the AAOS web site on concussions. For more information on sports-related injuries and treatment, visit ORA Orthopedics Sports Medicine Center of Excellence.