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As sports competitions resume for the fall and plans move forward for winter and spring after COVID-19 closures, the specialty-trained sports medicine doctors at Heartland Orthopedic Specialists offer guidance for protecting the health and safety of local student-athletes. Athletes or parents and guardians seeking specialized bone, joint and muscle care are encouraged to call (800) 762-1177 to schedule a safe appointment at 111 17th Ave. E., Suite 101. Telemedicine visits and Same-Day Orthopedics appointments are also available. For details and outreach clinic locations and hours, visit HeartlandOrthopedics.com.

“As team doctors for University of Minnesota Morris and area high schools throughout the region, student-athletes’ safety in the game and out in the world is our highest priority,” says Dr. Emily Monroe, fellowship-trained sports medicine surgeon at Heartland Orthopedic Specialists. “To ensure they can safely move into more training, competition and looking forward to the winter and spring seasons, we have developed a comprehensive list of guidelines and principles to keep in mind as athletics resume.”

Student-athletes, parents, guardians and coaches should exercise caution to not only reduce the risk of viral spread in groups but also to reduce the risk of injury by adhering to these protocols and strategies:

  • Know and follow all COVID-19 rules that apply: Maintain social distancing as best as possible and follow applicable guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Additionally, players, parents and coaches alike should follow any state, local, school, league and venue COVID-19-related regulations.
  • If you haven't yet, get a physical: Many schools and/or leagues may require a sports screening or medical exam before athletes participate in sports. For athletes who have not had a physical from a medical professional, get one before getting too deeply into training or workouts. This will ensure your fitness to participate and help you avoid additional health problems or injury.
  • Proceed with caution: Athletes returning to activity as well as those already competing should increase their conditioning and training with caution. Building strength and endurance takes time, and even athletes who have remained active will have an adjustment period.
  • Keep health your priority: In addition to eating proper, nutritious meals and drinking plenty of water, avoid overtraining by stopping activity when you're experiencing pain and varying your workouts and skill-building exercises. Your health and the health of others is also dependent on hygiene, so wash your hands, try not to touch your face, wear a face covering or mask when appropriate and avoid close contact with those outside of your household when possible.

“At Heartland Orthopedic Specialists, we understand that athletes and their families are excited to continue or return to sports and athletic activity,” says Dr. Harvey. “We also know that this comes with a number of risks, including injury and illness. We are here for our local athletes, and we intend to provide any high-level, specialized care and rehabilitation plans they may need to ensure a safe and successful return to play.”

While Heartland Orthopedic Specialists offers safe consultation and by-appointment sports physicals in their offices, their providers also offer telemedicine visits for remote bone, joint and muscle consultation. Same-Day Orthopedics is also available Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., to provide immediate, specialized care for sprains, fractures, dislocations and other acute or sports-related injuries. 

To learn more or to schedule an appointment with the sports medicine experts at Heartland Orthopedic Specialists, please call (800) 762-1177.