Medical Professional Publications

Integrating Orthopedics and Sports Medicine for Physically Disabled Athletes

Columbus, OH — November 2017

A joint venture from the Department of Orthopaedics and the Section of Sports Medicine at Nationwide Children’s Hospital is now offering children with physical disabilities — who may never have considered sports at all — a host of tailored resources to help them enter and excel at athletics.

The Adaptive Sports Medicine Program combines adaptive athletic training with expert orthopedic and injury care. Jonathan Napolitano, MD, a member of both the Department of Orthopaedics and the Section of Sports Medicine, leads the new initiative.

“There are countless benefits of participation in youth athletics, and one of our most vulnerable populations – children with physical disabilities – may have the most to gain from participation,” says Dr. Napolitano. “Children with physical disabilities often already receive care through Orthopaedics. This integration with sports medicine will allow these children to be active in a way they haven’t been before.”

The combination of specialties enables, on the physician side, expert evaluation and treatment of patients with a variety of disabilities, including limb deficiencies and deformities, spinal cord injuries, cerebral palsy, and other congenital or acquired disabilities, as well as motion and biomechanical evaluations customized for patients with prosthetics, wheelchairs or other adaptations.

On the rehabilitation and athletic training side, the program also offers general athletic analysis and training to patients hoping to become active and those hoping to improve their abilities via the Play Strong Program, Sports Nutrition, Sports Performance Training, and Biomechanical Video Analysis.

Much of this is made possible by new or expanded services at Nationwide Children’s. Dr. Napolitano also leads the hospital’s recently opened Amputee Clinic, part of the Center for Limb Lengthening and Reconstruction. The first-of-its kind Honda Center for Gait Analysis and Mobility Enhancement will give orthopedic and sports medicine specialists new insight into the biomechanics of physical disabilities. The hospital’s section of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and community adaptive sports partners will also play important roles.

The Adaptive Sports Medicine Program enables more physician face-time with patients and immediate follow-up with physical therapists and athletic trainers, as well as further care through the hospital’s Functional Rehabilitation and Sports Nutrition programs when needed. Now, children with physical disabilities in Ohio and across the nation have access to care that is distinctively tailored to their needs and designed to enhance their opportunity to safely participate in sports and reap the many physical, social and emotional benefits of athletic involvement.

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Nationwide Children's Hospital
700 Children's Drive Columbus, Ohio 43205 614.722.2000