CHB Sports Initiative

Jared Lee, MD


The Boston Public School Sports Medicine Initiative is an innovative program designed to provide high quality medical coverage to the football teams of the Boston Public Schools (BPS). Orthopaedic surgery residents from the Harvard Combined Orthopaedic Residency Program (HCORP) have worked closely with Children's Hospital Boston's Sports Medicine Division to provide this physician coverage. The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association mandates that a physician, a licensed athletic trainer or an emergency medical technician (EMT) be on site for all football games. Prior to the initiative, only an EMT, who is not trained in sports medicine, was present at BPS football games. EMTs are limited in their scope of practice and their ability to determine whether or not an athlete is able to return to competition following an injury. Often coaches were left in an uncomfortable role of determining whether a player can return to play, be withheld from competition, or seek additional medical treatment. Over the last eight years, the residents of HCORP have been the solution to this problem by providing excellent orthopedic sports medicine care and allowing coaches and players to focus on the game. In addition to on-field physician coverage, the residents provide pre and post game evaluations, treatments and make appropriate referrals as needed. Through this Initiative, these physician services are provided at no cost to the city of Boston.

The residents of HCORP have worked hard to help provide a safe environment in which young athletes can participate in organized sports. The residents have helped prevent and treat sports injuries that can potentially rob promising athletes of opportunities and benefits inherent in playing organized sports. Research has demonstrated that participation in sports is associated with decreased involvement with drugs, violence and sexual activities. Athletes also benefit from improved self-esteem, a strong camaraderie with teammates, and leadership skills.

Additionally, the HCORP residents are able to gain valuable on-field experience in managing athletic injuries. This management experience is much different than typical resident training in Harvard affiliated emergency departments and clinics. Residents also work closely with the licensed athletic trainers and EMTs present at games, and act as colleagues and instructors to other medical professions who have students and residents participating in game coverage. Undergraduate athletic trainers from Boston University and residents from Boston Medical Center's Family Practice Program are present at an increasing number of games and are excited to be involved and learn about the evaluation and treatment of orthopedic conditions of the injured athlete.

Since the inception of the Initiative, HCORP resident involvement has continued to increase. Over the last eight years 390 games have been covered by 101 residents. Over the past two seasons alone (2008-2009) residents were able to provide physician coverage for a record 125 varsity football contests. This past season 19 residents provided physician coverage for 60 of the 63 scheduled BPS home football games.

Under the leadership of Dr. Lyle Micheli, director of Children's Sports Medicine Division, Dr. Mininder Kocher, assistant director, Brian FitzGerald, BSN, ATC, LAT and the commitment of residents from the HCORP, this program will continue to grow and positively impact the young athletes of Boston Public Schools as well as continue to broaden the training experience of HCORP residents. This remarkable program has been made possible by generous funding from The Roger and Michele Marino Foundation.

If you would like any information on the Boston Public Schools Sports Medicine Initiative, please contact; Brian FitzGerald, BSN, ATC, LAT, Division of Sports Medicine, Children's Hospital at 617-355-6534 or e-mail: brian.fitzgerald@ childrens.harvard.edu




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