Studies show that about 8.6 million Americans a year incur injuries related to sports and recreational activities.
At nearly a dozen sports medicine facilities in the Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin health network, physicians and other providers treat sports injuries and help people get back to the activities they enjoy.
Yuka Kobayashi, DO, family medicine and sports medicine physician and MCW faculty member, provided insight on preventing sports injuries and seeking care.

Q: Generally speaking, how can athletes prevent injuries?

Dr. Kobayashi: It all depends on what level of athlete you are. One of the most important ways is to stay active every day. Younger athletes should make sure they get 30 to 60 minutes of moderate exercise a day. The same is true for adults. If you play specific sports, be sure you have a good maintenance program for your particular sport.

Q: How can people learn more about maintenance programs?

Dr. Kobayashi: It’s very sport dependent, but you can find national recommendations for each sport online. We also offer programs through NX Level, which has training facilities in Mequon, Wauwatosa and Waukesha. Our NX Level programs and performance coaches help athletes improve speed, flexibility, strength, endurance, nutrition, body composition and awareness.

Q: How soon should someone resume playing sports after an injury?

Dr. Kobayashi: It’s definitely injury dependent, but people should talk to a sports medicine physician or provider before returning to play.

Q: When should people seek medical care for sports injuries?

Dr. Kobayashi: Significant pain and functional issues, like when people have to limp or adjust how they move, are good reasons to see a doctor. So are neurological symptoms such as numbness, tingling or muscle weakness or injuries that don’t get better after a few days.

Q: Can you explain the health network’s multidisciplinary approach to sports medicine?

Dr. Kobayashi: I practice at the Froedtert & MCW Sports Medicine Center in Wauwatosa. We have a tight-knit group at our facility, which includes physicians, licensed athletic trainers, physical therapists, nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and medical assistants. We all share information and confer about patient treatment plans and patient progress. That level of care coordination is common throughout the health network.

Q: What is the health network’s approach to sports medicine?

Dr. Kobayashi: We develop personalized treatment plans for people, based on the nature of their injury, activity level and goals for recovery. We communicate the pros and cons of every option and keep their safety at the forefront of our decision making.

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