When pediatric orthopedic surgeon Cordelia W. Carter, MD, recently repaired a high school pitcher’s torn elbow ligament, the patient told her that every pitcher on his team had undergone either shoulder or elbow surgery. Dr. Carter wasn’t surprised. She’s seen a dramatic rise in injuries among preteens and adolescents who specialize in a single sport. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics reports that up to 50 percent of all injuries in pediatric sports medicine are related to overuse.
In response to a growing demand for pediatric musculoskeletal health specialists, Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone recently launched the Center for Young Athletes, which Dr. Carter codirects with sports medicine specialist Dennis A. Cardone, DO. In addition to common sports injuries of the knee, shoulder, hip, and elbow, the center’s experts specialize in conditions unique to children, including “little leaguer’s elbow” and “gymnast’s wrist.” The center’s multidisciplinary team expects to care for 3,000 young athletes annually. “Our primary goal is to get young injured athletes of all levels back to competing quickly and safely,” says Dr. Carter.