For dedicated high school and collegiate athletes, the competition remains fierce. Hours upon hours of practice to perfect skills that could lead to college scholarships or even professional careers means greater potential for sports-related injuries. And when game time arrives, the unfortunate possibility of injuries still remains.
But thanks to a unique program that combines the expertise of skilled athletic trainers, the comprehensive services of a world-class orthopedic team, first-rate physical therapy services and injury prevention education, NYU Winthrop Hospital’s Division of Sports Medicine in the Department of Orthopedic Surgery is helping athletes throughout the community get back in the game as quickly and safely as possible.
“There’s no other program like it on Long Island,” said Mark Grossman, MD, chief of the Division of Sports Medicine at NYU Winthrop, who leads the program with the support of Stephen Wirth, PT, administrative director of sports medicine at NYU Winthrop. “Within a 24-hour span, injured athletes can be assessed on the field by one of our athletic trainers, examined by a NYU Winthrop orthopedic specialist, have imaging studies done and, if necessary, undergo surgery. This program provides local residents with a personal touch, from the field through all of their follow up medical care.”
Carlo Acquista, head coach of the Adelphi University men’s soccer team, knows that personal touch firsthand. With NYU Winthrop serving as the official medical providers for Adelphi University athletics, Dr. Grossman has spent a great deal of time assessing and treating many of Mr. Acquista’s players, who are among the university’s more than 350 athletes.
“Any time one of my players gets injured, they’ll tell me ‘Coach, I need to go see Dr. Grossman,’” said Mr. Acquista. “The majority of them know him personally because of the great deal of time he has invested coming to games and building relationships with our student athletes, coaches, and trainers.”
In addition to providing physician coverage for games, Dr. Grossman holds weekly office hours to follow up on injuries as well as assess new ones. And when surgery is necessary, his expertise as a highly skilled orthopedic surgeon who specializes in sports medicine and shoulder surgery, along with the expertise of his colleagues in NYU Winthrop’s Department of Orthopedic Surgery, has helped countless student athletes get on the road to recovery.
“We’ve had players treated for injuries to their knees, elbows, head, and hands—and they have all had very successful recoveries thanks to the world-class care that’s been administered by Dr. Grossman and the team of specialists at NYU Winthrop,” said Mr. Acquista.
Mr. Acquista can also personally attest to the world-class care delivered by the team of specialists in NYU Winthrop’s Department of Orthopedic Surgery, as he too has been on the receiving end. After being injured while playing soccer at a local indoor facility, Mr. Acquista recently underwent surgery performed by Dr. Grossman to repair a torn meniscus. “The entire process was seamless—I came in for my surgery at 7:00AM and was out by 10:30AM that very same day,” said Mr. Acquista, who has since continued his physical therapy regimen at NYU Winthrop and has made great progress. “I’m already back to jogging on the treadmill.”
In addition to serving as the official medical providers for Adelphi University as well as providing certified athletic trainers at events for the Long Island Rough Riders, Long Island’s hometown soccer franchise, NYU Winthrop’s Division of Sports Medicine also provides athletic training services within several local schools including Garden City, East Meadow, Clarke, and Southside high schools.
“Every day, a team of four certified athletic trainers provides support to athletes in each of these venues,” said Mr. Wirth. “We have established personal relationships with the community, as we provide athletic trainers who not only supply practice and game coverage, but also share their expertise on a range of topics, including injury prevention, sports performance, and concussion awareness through various community outreach initiatives.”
Chris Napoli, ATC, is one of those certified athletic trainers. He is responsible for providing athletic training services to Garden City High School athletes. Napoli, who began his career as an athletic trainer with the New York Jets, understands the importance of this unique program and the benefits it provides to athletes and coaches.
“If an NFL player can be treated like gold, why can’t a high school athlete?” he said. “This program brings together the expertise of athletic trainers, orthopedic specialists, and physical therapists. The strong relationships that exist between these various specialties allows for communication to be at its best and for injured athletes to receive the best possible healthcare.”
Napoli’s dedication to getting student athletes back on the field has certainly proved to be an asset to Garden City High School. In fact, this past season, the Garden City varsity girls soccer team won the coveted New York State Championship, thanks in part to athletes being able to bring their peak performance skills to the field.
When he’s not busy providing practice and game day coverage for the school’s nearly two dozen sports teams, Napoli is actively involved in the development of community outreach injury prevention education—something that is unique to the NYU Winthrop program.
“Most athletic trainers work at a school as well as in a physical therapy office,” said Wirth. “Through NYU Winthrop’s Sports Medicine Program, the athletic trainer, when not working at a school, provides community outreach to youth organizations, their coaches, parents and athletes to promote safety, wellness, and injury prevention.”
Napoli continues to grow partnerships within the local community and has lectured on topics such as concussion awareness and management and common injuries and what to do, and has aided in the development of ACL injury prevention programs.
“We work with teams to promote safety in sports,” he said. “We want athletes to participate in a safe manner and are equipping them with the knowledge to do just that.”
As the program’s momentum continues to build, NYU Winthrop’s Division of Sports Medicine is grateful for the partnerships it has already established and is hopeful to expand this program into other schools and venues in 2014.