Expert Care Gets You Back in the Game
Catholic Health delivers excellence in sports medicine. Our experts offer non-surgical and surgical treatment options as well as therapies to help you prepare for a season, play safely, or recover from an injury. We consider ourselves the “team behind the team,” working with athletes at every level, including youth, high school, collegiate and professional.
We understand the demands that athletes face pre-season, in-season, and post-season. Treatments are tailored to your specific sport, position and level of participation.
Care You Can Trust
Catholic Health sports medicine specialists help thousands of Long Island athletes safely return to playing the sports they love. With this level of expertise, you can trust that Catholic Health is dedicated to helping you get back in the game and enjoy a winning season.
St. Francis Hospital & Heart Center® (Roslyn, NY) is nationally recognized by U.S. News & World Report for orthopedic surgery, offering the most advanced minimally invasive surgical options for sports injuries.
- St. Charles Hospital (Port Jefferson, NY), Long Island's leader in physical therapy and rehabilitation, offers specialized sports clinics and the ThinkSMART!™ concussion management program.
Helping You Heal
Catholic Health treats a range of sports injuries, sore muscles and other issues that get in the way of your participation in sports, like arthritis, balance difficulties and neurological issues. We address all areas where pain and injuries occur, including ankles, back, neck, joints, knees and shoulders.
If you get injured in your sport, we offer the most advanced treatment techniques to help you heal. Our facilities have some of the same equipment found in the training rooms of collegiate and professional sports teams, including:
- AlterG® anti-gravity treadmill. Acts in a way that resists the effects of gravity and enhances the freedom of movement, redefining what’s possible in rehabilitation and training.
- MarkPro electrical stimulation device. An advanced electrical-muscle stimulation device that delivers the most effective muscle recovery available and creates non-fatiguing muscle activation that is scientifically proven to enhance each stage of the muscle recovery process.
- NormaTec pulse recovery system. Includes dynamic air compression through sleeves for your legs or arms to increase blood flow and promote healing and recovery
Regenerative medicine is an exciting new area of medicine offered by Catholic Health. These therapeutic treatments have the potential to help heal damaged muscles, bones and connective tissues at the cellular level by leveraging healthy cells from a patient’s own body.
Catholic Health physicians also use prolotherapy (proliferative therapy), a non-surgical option for progressive and chronic ligament injuries caused by sport, falls, daily activities, accidents, and certain medical conditions.
Personal blood flow restriction training (PBFR) is a leading-edge treatment where sports therapists use a tourniquet cuff to greatly reduce the blood flow to a muscle and block blood flowing away from that same muscle.
During PBFR sessions, athletes wear the tourniquet cuff and perform low-load exercises, like walking or lifting an arm. The blood flow restriction prompts the athlete's body to respond as it would to high intensity training by increasing the heart rate.
Effectiveness of PBFR
Catholic Health sports therapists use PBFR with athletes recovering from a muscle injury or surgery to help shorten recovery time. Because PBFR may also reduce the impact of the body’s natural scarring mechanism and decrease muscle loss, it has the potential to benefit athletes who fail to use a muscle or use a muscle significantly less following injury or surgery.
PBFR also increases muscle volume, which can improve an athlete’s endurance and allow them to train longer with less fatigue. This helps them train with more intensity and improve their VO2 Max, which is the body’s ability to efficiently consume and use oxygen.
Recovery and Muscle Restoration
Even athletes who are fit and injury-free can sustain some level of muscular microtrauma when training, specifically as microscopic tears to the muscle. Although they are not injured, they may be sore as a result. Athletes undergoing PBFR have the potential to heal these tiny muscular tears.
Preservation of strength gained during the off-season is possible without placing any more demands on the joints, such as running and throwing. For example, after pitchers start or in a bullpen session, PBFR can be used to preserve the strength and endurance of the rotator cuff and surrounding muscles. This allows the athlete to maintain a healthy shoulder throughout the season.
Sports Medicine Surgeries & Specialized Care
Orthopedic Surgical Procedures
Catholic Health orthopedic surgeons care for athletes of all ages and at all levels—from school to recreational to professionals—who have injured themselves playing sports.
Our orthopedic surgeons perform minimally procedures whenever possible.
- Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction
- Arthroscopy of hip, knee and shoulder—minimally invasive procedure to diagnose and treat joint problems
- Articular cartilage repair and reconstruction
- Meniscus surgery
- Rotator cuff repair
- Shoulder labrum surgery
St. Francis Hospital & Heart Center® (Roslyn, NY) is nationally ranked by U.S. News & World Report for orthopedics. Their orthopedic surgeons are leaders in sports medicine surgery and one of the few hospitals in New York State to offer:
- Autologous chondrocyte implantation (ACI)—repairs articular cartilage defects of the knee
- Matrix-induced autologous chondrocyte implantation (MACI)—repairs damaged articular cartilage in the knee using cartilage cells harvested arthroscopically from the patient
ACL Injury Management
Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries are one of the most common sports injuries. Catholic Health sports medicine specialists, including renowned orthopedic physicians and surgeons as well as physiatrists who specialize in physical medicine and rehabilitation, successfully treat and provide rehabilitation for ACL injuries.
The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of the major stabilizing ligaments in the knee. It is a strong, rope-like structure located in the center of the knee. It connects the thigh bone to the shin bone and prevents the shin bone from moving abnormally on the thigh bone.
There are two major types of ACL injuries: ACL sprains and ACL tears. When the ACL tears, it does not heal by itself. This makes the knee unstable and limits an athlete’s ability to perform cutting and pivoting activities frequently required to participate in sports.
Our sports medicine specialists consider an athlete’s medical history, conduct a physical examination, and examine diagnostic images such as an X-ray and/or MRI to make a diagnosis. ACL tears may require reconstruction surgery.
All athletes are unique and not every recovery is the same. We tailor rehabilitation to your specific needs and goals. Our physiatrists and physical therapists know that recovery from ACL reconstruction surgery can be long and challenging. They consider physical and psychological factors, and consult with your orthopedic surgeon to share progress reports, before recommending you return to your sport following surgery.
Our personalized treatment plans help you safely return to playing at an optimal level. Patients, parents, and athletic trainers are integral members of your recovery team and are included in your rehabilitation process.
In addition to high-quality, customized rehabilitation, Catholic Health offers functional testing following ACL reconstruction surgery. Functional testing provides an objective picture of an athlete’s progress, performance and ability to return to play.
Athletes are put through a battery of tests with strict guidelines that ensure player readiness and helps reduce the risk of re-injury. At St. Charles Hospital, we test athletes four, six, and nine months after ACL reconstruction surgery before returning to play.
After testing, results are analyzed by our specialty-trained sports therapists and then shared with the athlete's surgeon. Patients are educated about their performance and a personalized plan is put into action.
Functional testing consists of the following steps:
- Balance testing—Dynamic balance testing involves using standardized measures that examine balance while also providing valuable information about strength and control.
- Performance testing—This series of tests consists of movements comparable to the athlete’s necessary skills on the field of play. These tests provide objective information about neuromuscular control, power and speed. It also identifies compensating strategies that athletes may have developed, which can increase the risk of re-injury.
- Psychometric testing—Following a serious injury, such as an ACL tear, both fear and lack of confidence can play an important role in an athlete returning to their previous level of play. If an athlete returns to play before being psychologically ready, it can greatly increase the risk of injury. We use various measures designed to test an athlete’s self-readiness and identify any deficits.
- Strength testing—This uses an electronic dynamometer to ensure accurate and reliable results.
We focus on keeping our athletes healthy, injury-free and on the playing field. To help prevent ACL tears, St. Charles Hospital offers individualized screenings to identify athletes who may likely have ACL injuries and teach them injury prevention exercises and techniques.
In-Season and Off-Season Care
St. Charles Hospital's Sports Recovery Clinic helps in-season high school athletes treat muscle soreness and fatigue between games and helps off-season athletes looking to stay in shape. Athletes from all sports are welcome.
The clinic encourages physical recovery between games and is similar to clinics for professional athletes. During sessions, student athletes work one-on-one with sports therapists. They receive individual evaluations and guidance through active recovery exercise programs.
During the clinic, players also have access to equipment generally available only in elite college programs and professional sports. This includes full submersion ice water baths, also called cryotherapy, professional quality electrical stimulation devices and intermittent compression devices. For athletes who have suffered a concussion, specialized care is offered through the ThinkSMART!™ concussion management program.
Personalized Treatment Plans
- Balance and postural awareness—physical therapists make you aware of any balance or posture difficulties and work to improve them
- Body mechanics and movement—physical therapists analyze your body mechanics and coach you on how to improve your movements
- Electric muscle stimulation—stimulates muscles to contract and increase blood flow to build muscle
- Energy conservation—refers to the way you go through your daily activities to minimize muscle fatigue, joint stress and pain
- Heat and cold treatments—heat is used for muscle strains, stiff joints and arthritis; cold is used to decrease swelling in an injury
- Manual therapy—treatments done by physical therapists to improve your participation in your sport
- Massage—plays an important role in injury rehabilitation by encouraging circulation and relaxing muscles
- Progressive exercise programs—helps achieve optimal fitness for your sport
- Therapeutic ultrasound—helps heal muscles
- Traction—stabilizes and realigns a broken bone or a dislocation
- Whirlpool baths—exposes all parts of your body to warm, moving water to increase circulation and massage your injured area