Pediatric Sports Medicine: The Best Care for Children and Teens

Children and teens are not just small adults: they cannot always say what is bothering them or answer medical questions. It is essential to give your child the best care possible, in every aspect of his or her physical needs. Pediatric sports medicine specialists know how to examine and treat children and teens in a way that makes them relaxed and cooperative. These specialists are trained and equipped to examine, diagnose, and treat injuries and illnesses in active children and teens.

Pediatric sports medicine providers specialize in the prevention, evaluation, and management of sports related illness and/or injury that might occur to your child, teen, or young adult. This may include any of the following:

  • Pre-participation sports physicals
  • Injury prevention education
  • Sports psychology issues (including eating disorders)
  • Substance, nutrition, and supplement issues
  • Injury evaluation and treatment
  • Fracture care (non-surgical)
  • Sprains and strains
  • Low back pain (incidental or chronic)
  • Dislocations
  • Ligament and cartilage injuries
  • Avulsions and bone stress fractures
  • Apophysitis
  • Tendonitis
  • Injury from overuse
  • Spondylolysis (back stress fractures)
  • Exercised-induced asthma
  • Concussion
  • Impact of diabetes in sports
  • Heat illness
  • Second opinion concerning surgery


What is the difference between a sports medicine specialist and an orthopedic surgeon?

Both are well trained in musculoskeletal medicine. Sports medicine specialists, however, focus in the non-operative treatment of musculoskeletal conditions, (approximately 90% of all sports injuries are non-surgical). Sports medicine specialists also have additional expertise in non-orthopedic problems, for example, concussion, heat exhaustion, exercise-induced asthma, and nutrition. Pediatric sports medicine specialists are board certified through the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Who can be treated by a sports medicine specialist?

Sports medicine specialists are ideal physicians for athletes and non-athletes alike, and are excellent resources for the individual who wishes to become active or begin an exercise program. The same expertise used for the competitive athlete can be applied to return an individual to full function as quickly as possible.

If your pediatrician suggests that your child or teen see a pediatric sports medicine specialist, you can rest assured that the specialist has a wide range of treatment options, extensive training, and expertise in dealing with children and teens. Consider pediatric sports medicine as one more way to help your child reach his or her full potential.

Craig A. Coleby, MD is board certified in sports medicine through the American Board of Pediatrics. He is also certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine and is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics. He practices at Granger Medical Clinic in Riverton, Utah. Appointments can be made by calling 801.302.1700.

Originally printed in Granger Medical Clinic’s magazine, Spring 2014.