Bostons inner-city high school athletes have
historically not had direct access to professional
sports medicine health care providers during high
school sporting events like their suburban counterparts.
The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic
Association (MIAA) mandates that a physician,
licensed athletic trainer or an emergency medical
technician must be on the sidelines for all high
school football contests. Due to the lack of consistent
resources for inner-city high school sports programs, an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), not trained in sports medicine,
was assigned to cover the majority of these contests. Games must be postponed or cancelled if appropriate medical coverage is not
available on site. With EMTs covering games, coaches became responsible for making critical and potentially harmful decisions
whether or not an injured athlete should return to play. The lack of providers with training in sports medicine puts the inner-city
athletes at a significant disadvantage and at risk compared to their colleagues in suburban schools who often have direct access to
licensed athletic trainers and sports medicine trained physicians.
In response to this problem, the Childrens Hospital Division of Sports Medicine
implemented an innovative program in 2002 designed to enhance the quality of
health care for inner city athletes from the Boston Public Schools. The Childrens
Hospital Inner City Sports Medicine Initiative, now the Boston Public Schools
Sports Medicine Initiative, was created to provide these young urban athletes the
important specialized medical care they deserve by bringing specially trained doctors
directly to them. Through this program, residents from the Harvard Combined
Orthopaedic Surgery Residency Program provide full medical coverage during the
games and pre and post game sports medicine training needs. Additionally, there
are now many more licensed athletic trainers than EMTs providing contest coverage
alongside the orthopaedic residents.
In its inaugural year in 2002, fourteen residents signed up for the program and 21 games were covered. This past 2005 season,
again fourteen residents signed on and a record 40 games were covered! Residents who participate in the program have the
opportunity to provide on-the-field management and acute care of sports injuries, educate young athletes in injury prevention and
be a positive force for young people in the community. Research has demonstrated that participation in sports is associated with
decreased involvement with drugs, violence and sexual activities. This program has helped prevent and treat sports injuries that have
the potential to rob young athletes of the important opportunities inherent in playing organized sports.
Under the leadership of Dr. Lyle Micheli, director of Childrens renowned sports medicine division, Dr. Mininder Kocher, assistant
director, and Brian FitzGerald, BSN, ATC, LAT and the commitment of residents from the Harvard Combined Orthopaedic Residency
Program, this program will continue to grow and positively impact young people in Bostons inner city. This wonderful 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, Childrens Hospital
Tel : 617-355-6534
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org