Kristine Delgado Administrative Director of Rehabilitation Richmond University Medical Center While physical therapy can help people of all ages—from a 6-year-old who walks on her toes to a 60-year-old with arthritis—it is especially beneficial for adolescent athletes. Sixty million teens in the U.S. play at least one sport, according to the American Physical Therapy Association, and their growing bodies need to heal properly. Also, teens often hastily return to the field (or court or track) and get injured again. It may not always be easy to get a teenager to be cautious or heed advice, but according to experts, physical therapy is essential for injured adolescents. What are the benefits of physical therapy for teens? According to Kristine Delgado, administrative director of rehabilitation at Richmond University Medical Center, adolescent athletes seek physical therapy most commonly after sprains and strains—a sprain is the ligament, and a strain is the muscle—with ankle sprains at the top of the list. Other common injuries are ACLs, dislocations, fractures, and breaks. Also, any teen who has had orthopedic surgery usually has to complete physical therapy. “The physical therapist, or PT’s job, first, is to get the muscle back to normal function, to decrease the pain level of the patient, and then to regain the prior functional activity level,” Delgado explains. This usually requires about twelve 45-minute sessions. “They’ll start off with heat or ice because that helps get the muscle ready for them to work with, and then they go to the actual manual therapy, where they stretch, and then they put them on the machine—a bike or treadmill,” Delgado explains. These sessions may include stretching, strengthening, mobilization, resistance exercises, and resistance training. Ultrasounds are often used to apply heat to the tissues and the TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) machine helps reduce pain. After alleviating the acute problem, a PT works on preventing a recurring injury by educating the patient on how the injury occurred. They might also prescribe orthotics, like a compression sleeve for the quad or the hamstring, knee braces, knee sleeves, or lumbosacral belts—which can support the muscle and prevent pain. One of the most important parts of recovery for adolescent athletes is the work they do at home. “It’s not enough for them to come two or three times a week to recover, if they’re not doing anything the other days,” Delgado says. “They have to work on increasing muscle strength in the surrounding areas, so that the injury doesn’t happen again.” At RUMC, the physical therapist creates individualized exercise plans for each patient that can be found on an app. The app also has videos that demonstrate each exercise and keeps track of how often they are performed. “It gives them exercise reminders. And it reports back to the therapist if the patient is compliant,” Delgado says. “It’s a lot more motivating.” How is physical therapy for teens different than PT for adults or kids? One of the major components of youth sports physical therapy is education—not only does the injury need to be treated but the adolescent athlete needs to learn how to keep it from reoccurring. “A lot of times injury occurs because of poor positioning or poor core strength. So it will just keep occurring because you’re doing the same thing over and over again that caused it,” Delgado explains. “So it’s good to address it this way. And then we can talk to them about how to avoid it.” Also, adolescent athletes are more active than adults—many play more than one sport and/or play sports with friends, so they are susceptible to overuse and reinjury, especially if they are not fully rehabbed before they return to sports. While many of the youth sports physical therapy techniques are the same as those used on adults, teens often need a counseling component. “You have to explain, ‘You can’t do that because you’re going to get hurt.’ Over and over and over again,” Delgado says. Also because of their age and the fact that their bones are still forming, injuries can cause permanent damage to their young bodies. Adolescent athletes also often need motivation. “A lot of them don’t want to come—the parents are dragging them here. They don’t want to do the home exercise,” Delgado says. Physical therapists therefore focus on the therapy part of their job, talking to patients and trying to inspire compliance and understanding. Often youth sports physical therapy includes the parents in the treatment. “We educate the parent at the same time because the parent has to make sure that they are complying and that they’re following directions,” Delgado says. How can teens prevent injury? There are several steps adolescent athletes can take to prevent injury in the first place, according to Delgado. Warming up and cooling down can prevent cramping. Daily stretching increases flexibility and will prevent injury. “A big, big one is hydration. Teenagers are not hydrated properly, but hydration is huge because it prevents cramping, which leads to injury. And then not only water, but you need electrolytes,” Delgado says. Also the proper gear like shin guards, a chest protector, and cleats can help. Of course, none of these things can entirely prevent injuries. But even if the swelling goes down and/or the pain subsides, teens should be treated by a physical therapist, like those at RUMC, in order to prevent further damage and injury reoccurrence. Sponsored Content | Richmond University Medical Center[more...]
Ahh, summer…truly our favorite time of year. After all, it’s the season of family vacations, beach days, and no homework! And after the last year and a half, we know you’re ready to get out and have fun with your kids. So, in an effort to help you find all the family fun you’re craving, we’re proud to present the first issue of the Family Fun Guide! It’s full of fairs and festivals, travel advice, and fun activities for your family—think: local attractions, day drip destinations, amusement and water parks, and more — all nearby in Staten Island, New York or New Jersey! Link to the Summer 2021 Family Fun Guide below! Happy Summer! Summer 2021 NYC Family Fun Guide[more...]
Are you raising a child in Staten Island with autism, ADD, ADHD, dyslexia, developmental disabilities, down syndrome or anyone differently abled in any way? The Staten Island Special Needs Guide contains information, resources, doctors, psychologists, therapists, other professionals for parents of children with special needs.[more...]
Now more than ever, kids need the close bonds formed at camp. Summer camp is a place for kids to have fun and practice independence—but it’s also a unique opportunity for them to form deep, long-lasting friendships. The friends that kids make in camp—whether it’s day camp or sleepaway—often last years, even decades. In a survey of more than 5,000 families around the U.S., 69 percent of families said their camper was still in contact with the kids they met at camp. That’s why during this period of social isolation brought on by the pandemic, it’s more important than ever for kids to experience the kinds of friendships made at summer camp. Making Friends at Summer Camp Camp, as it turns out, is uniquely suited to provide all the very best ingredients for forming friendships: An escape from routine, shared activities, and exposure to new things—all happening under the watchful eye of well-trained role models. Here are a few reasons why those camp friendships form—and last—so powerfully. Campers share their successes. After a year of remote or hybrid school, kids are craving the opportunity to share an immediate and intimate experience with others their own age—which is exactly what happens at camp. Whether it’s a soccer match or an obstacle course—or at the Greek mythology-based Camp Half-Blood, potion-making and stealth games—campers achieve small successes together. This comradery leads to meaningful bonds. Campers interact with each other—not screens. Without screens, campers are forced to makes face-to-face contact (something that’s been in short supply lately). They can also have conversations without being distracted by a phone or other device; and they don’t have to worry about their social media profiles or “likes”—which makes every interaction more genuine and affirming. With the pressures of the outside world removed, what remains is a common routine and activities grounded in the present. Campers share interests and experience. Kids with unique interests or talents can bond over their shared passions. At Camp Half-Blood, when kids choose their “hometown” group (Athens, Mycenae, Sparta, Syracuse, Ithaca, and Thebes), like-minded demigods will gravitate to the same group, so the campers who chose Sparta share a love of sword-fighting and epic battles, while those who picked Athens enjoy strategy and trivia. Being with others who have the same interests can prevent kids from feeling isolated. It also makes “breaking the ice” a little easier when meeting new people. Counselors inspire connections. In addition to being a role model, a camp counselor’s job is to help kids form friendships. Many counselors, like those at Camp Half-Blood, have been campers themselves and have made friends through the experience—a process that they want to inspire in their campers. Also, counselors are trained to empower kids to feel comfortable contributing to the group. This leads a child to feel valued and confident, making it easier for her to find friends. Campers can be themselves. “Camp allows children to reinvent themselves and be who they want to be in a positive, supportive environment,” Jess Michaels, the communications director for the American Camp Association of New York and New Jersey, says. The shy child may become the outgoing child, and the child who may be not intro sports at home might be athletic at camp. At Camp Half-Blood, campers gain the tools (from the fields of theater, fine arts, debate, imaginative inquiry, STEM—and of course, the fields of battle) to tell their own stories. Also kids at Camp Half-Blood get to choose their parent-god—their bandanna represents their choice: orange for Athena, yellow for Apollo, etc. And they get to choose their own electives. It’s an environment that encourages kids to figure out who they are and open themselves up—which leads to more honest relationships. Sharing tradition leads to closeness. Campers often connect over the themes and rituals that camp offers—whether that’s campfire songs or at Camp Half-Blood, the Olympics, when campers compete in sword-fighting, trivia, narrative art, and a foot race. These customs can keep campers in close contact after camp and returning year after year. Diversity creates social awareness. For some kids, camp may be their first time meeting people outside of their neighborhood or school. For others, it might be their first time meeting kids like themselves. Either way, kids will learn to interact with people of different backgrounds, practice asking questions and figuring out appropriate self-disclosure. They’ll also learn respect for others. Campers will share memories. What happens at camp tends to stick with kids for a long time. That might be sneaking out of their cabins or winning a game of tennis. At Camp Half-Blood, it might be a few epic rounds of Mythomagic (a tabletop role-playing game similar to Dungeons & Dragons)—or simply a meaningful conversation with a like-minded peer. These memories bind kids and lead to long-lasting friendships. Sending your child to camp might be a difficult decision this year. There are potential health concerns and changes in protocols. On the other hand, it’s been a difficult year for kids and camp is probably exactly what they need, especially when it comes to connecting with others and making real friends.[more...]
Summer camp has many benefits for kids. They gain independence, form friendships, and learn new skills. And although it may not be obvious, camp helps prepare kids for college and beyond. Day camps, as well as sleepaway camps, introduce kids to a world without their parents — one which is nurturing yet challenging, and one which gives kids the skills and psychological advantages that will help them thrive after they leave home. Campers learn to adapt Campers have no control over who is in their bunk, or if their friends will return the following summer. Each year, they must find a way to accept their assignments and adapt to new situations. This experience is mirrored in college when students must figure out how to navigate a new world. And it turns out that kids who went to camp are much better prepared when these challenges arise in college. Campers gain confidence Unlike many schools, camps like Staten Island Academy Day Camp create a judgment-free community. Campers are encouraged to explore new activities and counselors are trained to help campers keep trying until they succeed. This instills a confidence in kids that carries over into the rest of their lives. A young person who feels good about themself is less likely to make poor choices because they feel a sense of accomplishment in rising to the developmental challenges that face them. This will stay with them throughout their school years and beyond. Campers become resilient The first week of camp is full of unknowns: Who are these counselors? What are these traditions? Where do I go? Who will be my friends? Will I be successful? Similar questions and challenges will arise in college as well. At Staten Island Academy Day Camp, kids are encouraged to confront and overcome this uncertainty—whether it’s in an enrichment camp like Engineering Using Legos or the Talented and Gifted Program. This resiliency will make the next uncertainty easier to handle. Campers embrace and learn from diversity Camp not only introduces kids to people who are different from them, it also celebrates those differences. At Staten Island Academy Day Camp, kids learn that diversity widens their comfort zones and broadens their minds. Also, because the staff is so inclusive, kids tend to become fast friends, which will make that first day of college freshman orientation a lot easier and more familiar. Campers gain a strong sense of self There are kids who will jump at the chance to be in the annual camp show and others who shy away from the spotlight. There are athletes, artists, intellects, comedians—and they all attend Staten Island Academy Day Camp, where all campers are encouraged to discover who they really are and are praised and rewarded for that process. These kids will take that strong sense of self with them—back to school and onwards to college. Campers practice being away from home Camp helps kids adjust to being away from home by giving them practice being away from home. Campers, often as young as kindergarten or first grade, get to experience being separated from their parents while still being nurtured and cared for. Homesickness, even at day camp, is natural, and getting through that discomfort with the help of a counselor or friend is an empowering experience for a child of any age. When homesickness happens at college, campers will know there’s always someone to help—whether it’s a roommate, friend, professor, or advisor. It can be a tough decision to send your child to summer camp—especially during the uncertainties of the pandemic. But camp will not only provide a fun and enriching experience, it will also help kids become more equipped to deal with the challenges ahead of them.[more...]
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