Monday, July 25, 2011

Welcome Fleet Feet Marathon and Half Marathon Training Team Members!!

Congratulations to the over 400 hearty individuals who have made the commitment to train over the coming weeks for the inaugural St. Louis Rock 'n' Roll Marathon and Half Marathon and numerous other fall races around the country!  You have chosen to work toward a goal that only a small percentage of the population can say they've attained.

Thank you for visiting the website.  I am the team physician for the Fleet Feet Marathon and Half Marathon Training Teams.  I have served in this capacity for the last two years, and was Medical Director for St. Louis' previous premier fall race, the Lewis and Clark Marathon, from 2007 to 2010.  Personally, I have completed three half marathons and was a member of the training team myself for this spring's Go! St. Louis Half Marathon.  I have designs on my first full marathon in 2012.

My office is located in St. Peters, Missouri--just a short jaunt over the river.  I have had numerous St. Louis County runners visit for various issues, and my training as a Primary Care Sports Medicine Specialist gives me keen insight into the mind and body of runners.  I am one myself.

Check back often for posts about common injuries and conditions that affect distance runners.  I will be in attendance at the half marathon kick-off meeting this Saturday.  Stop by and say hi.  Don't be shy about asking questions.  I will also be at a few of the training runs to evaluate your nagging aches and pains, to help decide if an injury is something you may be able to run through or if it may need further attention.

I am honored to be a part of the Fleet Feet Training Team program.  I pledge to work hard to ensure that every runner has the chance to cross that finish line and taste glory (and the beer at the tent at the end of the race.)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Concussion Awareness in the Fort Zumwalt District

Here's a recent article in the Suburban Journal about the Fort Zumwalt School District's implementation of preseason concussion testing for all football players.

I am the medical director of the concussion program for Fort Zumwalt, and we have expanded preseason ImPACT computerized neurocognitive testing to all football players and cheerleaders in the district for the upcoming season.  In addition, ImPACT testing is performed at Clopton and Louisiana High Schools in Pike County.  Starting this summer, all high school athletes in all sports will be tested during the preseason in the Francis Howell School District.  Just like in the NFL, we will be able to test athletes after they sustain a concussion and compare the scores to their baseline performance to help guide a safe return to the field.

The school districts in St. Charles County and points northward are on the cutting edge of concussion evaluation and management and are to be commended!

Use Caution With Sports and Energy Drinks In Children and Adolescents

The American Academy of Pediatrics recently published a report regarding the safety of energy and sports drinks in young athletes. Both types of drinks have become increasingly popular in children and teens, due to aggressive marketing and endorsement by professional athletes and celebrities. According to the AAP, there is a lot of confusion about these products and the differences between them. Some athletes are using energy drinks, which contain large amounts of caffeine, after exercise when their only goal is to rehydrate.

Sports drinks contain carbohydrates, minerals, electrolytes, and flavoring, and are intended to replace water and electrolytes lost through sweating during exercise. However, these drinks contain a large amount of sugar and should be reserved only for after prolonged exercise--usually for more than an hour. They should not be used for routine meals and snacks due to their contribution to obesity and tooth decay.

Energy drinks, while very popular in teens and young adults, are never to be used by children. A standard energy drink contains as much caffeine as 10-14 cans of cola. Caffeine is addictive and has no nutritional value. Just like in coffee, caffeine is a stimulant--a drug--and should not be used by children. They often contain additional substances such as guarana and taurine, which are also powerful stimulants. Use of large amounts of energy drinks have shown to contribute to heart problems in teens.

So what should young athletes drink after games and practices? The answer isn't all that surprising: good old water! Water does the job to replenish fluids lost through sweat. For bouts of exercise under an hour, water is all that is necessary. Sports drinks have unneeded sugar that may contribute to obesity, especially when used routinely.

To read the full report from the American Academy of Pediatrics, click the link below: