Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) launches “Move Better Play Better,” an initiative to provide free injury prevention resources to 50 high schools throughout the US during the 2022-23 school year.

The “Move Better Play Better” program is comprised of risk factor screenings for student-athletes; educational workshops for parents, coaches and physical education teachers, and on-site or virtual support visits for key stakeholders. HSS will also provide priority access to a new injury prevention training app for coaches. Any high school in the nation can apply to join the program, as long as they do not have a full-time athletic trainer.

“High school sports have long been an important community pillar as they provide children with important social skills and health benefits,” said Joseph Janosky, DrPHc, MSc, PT, AT, Director, Injury Prevention Programs, HSS. “While injuries are common, the good news is that proper training can change this. Here at HSS, we have developed evidence-based injury prevention programs so kids can reap the benefits of sports with a reduced risk of getting hurt.”

Approximately 7 million students play high school sports with over 2 million injuries each year. Nearly 30,000 of those injuries result in hospital stays. The CDC believes that up to half of these injuries could be prevented with proper training and resources.

When schools have access to a full-time athletic trainer, their students see lower overall and recurring injury rates. Unfortunately, approximately two-thirds of U.S. high schools lack access.

Kids who endure sports injuries are more likely to miss school, suffer from mental health issues such as depression, and develop chronic orthopedic issues like arthritis that could increase risk of opioid dependency.

“We understand the devastating effects that injuries can have on our youth and we believe that we can help kids stay safe playing the sport of their choice by providing our resources and expertise directly to their schools,” said Janosky.

“Move Better Play Better” lives within the HSS Sports Medicine Institute’s Youth Sports Safety Program, which brings together sports medicine doctors, physical therapists and other experts to develop injury prevention programs aimed to keep youth athletes safe. Since the program’s inception in 2016, nearly 300,000 youth athletes, coaches and teachers have attended injury prevention workshops. Since December 2021, over 1,000 youth athletes have participated in injury risk factor screenings.

“The HSS Sports Medicine Institute is committed to getting athletes of all ages back to their sports and we are especially proud of initiatives such as these that strive to help children embark on a lifelong journey of athletics,” said Andrew D. Pearle, MD, chief of the HSS Sports Medicine Institute.

The initiative was announced at the Project Play Summit on May 4 in Washington, D.C. Project Play is the flagship initiative of the Aspen Institute’s Sports & Society Program, and aims to develop, share and apply knowledge that helps stakeholders build healthy communities through sports specifically access to quality sport activity for all children. The yearly Summit is the nation’s premier gathering of leaders building healthy community through sports.

Interested high schools can apply to join the Move Better Play Better Campaign here. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis through July 1, 2022. A brief letter of support from a school or district administrator is required as part of the application. Applicants who are not selected will receive access to a selection of free injury prevention resources.

[Source(s): Hospital for Special Surgery, PR Newswire]