As people have become more physically active in search of the resulting health benefits, the field of sports medicine has grown, too.
The popularity of fitness activities is apparent with more adults participating in amateur sports leagues such as recreational soccer, while others pursue weight lifting or vigorous home-fitness programs. At the same time, running continues to be popular with all ages. Finally, there are growing numbers of student athletes who push their bodies to the limit – or past it. Sports injuries are a common side effect of any athletic activity, whether for student athletes, adult fitness enthusiasts or amateur “weekend warriors.” For these individuals, sports medicine professionals answer the bell.
Dr. David M. Harsha is the medical director of St.Vincent Sports Performance, a program dedicated to the unique physical needs of athletes. According to Harsha, “Our multi-service sports medicine group includes sports physicians, sports psychology, sports nutrition, and coaching and training for sports performance.”
The well being of student athletes is of particular concern to sports medicine physicians, he said. “We have an outreach network of athletic trainers that are at various schools in Hamilton and Marion counties,” Harsha said. “As part of that outreach, we have expanded our program to now include a site at St.Vincent Fishers. Now, not only will we be able to serve athletes from area schools, but also recreational athletes in the community who want to achieve a higher level of performance.”
The new St.Vincent Sports Performance at St.Vincent Fishers will accept appointments and walk-ins for athletic injury assessments and treatments. It will be open for regular morning hours during the week and will even accept Saturday morning walk-ins designed for fall sports athletes who might have taken a hard hit during the previous night’s game.
The recent expansion is timely, since fall is the biggest season of the year for sports injuries from football, soccer, lacrosse and even ice hockey.
“With all the contact sports that occur during the fall,” Harsha said, “we see higher incidences of injuries such as concussions. Our facilities practice state-of-the-art care for those types of injuries and we have a great depth of knowledge in how to treat sports-related concussions.”
Harsha is team physician for the Indiana Fever and the Indiana Ice, as well as consulting team physician for USA Diving and USA Gymnastics. “We provide training for athletes from middle school, high school and college, all the way to Olympic athletes and elite professionals from the NFL, NBA, IndyCar and other sports,” Harsha said. “We believe extending that expertise to athletes throughout the community is an important step in our mission.”