National Athletic Training Month (From 3/6/14)

March is National Athletic Training Month and Premier PT is joining the celebration by helping spread the word about who athletic trainers are and what they do.

Athletic trainers are allied health professionals who care for physically active individuals and athletes of all types. They evaluate, treat and manage injuries through first aid, taping and bracing, use of therapeutic modalities, rehabilitative exercise and manual treatment.   Athletic training was initially recognized as an allied health field by the American Medical Association in 1991, but the profession dates back to the early part of the 20th century. Athletic trainers are highly trained. They are required to attain a bachelor’s degree and pass a national board examination before entering practice.  In addition to their other responsibilities, athletic trainers often work to help prevent injuries,respond to emergency situations by providing life saving care and manage other aspects of individuals health care.

Celebrate National Athletic Training Month by saying thank you to the athletic trainers who serve our local schools and teams throughout the month of March. While there are many conditions that athletic trainers may treat or help manage, there are several which have gained much national attention recently.

One that may be somewhat unknown to the general public is the female athlete triad. The female athlete triad is serious disorder which afflicts many young adults and women who compete in sports. This disorder is characterized by:

  1. Disordered Eating
  2. Dysmenorrhea (Changes in, or loss of the menstrual cycle)
  3. Bone density loss. This a particularly serious issue, particularly for young female athletes who may still be developing.

The female athlete triad can lead to serious injury including but not limited to:

1.Fracture

2.Osteoporosis

3.Joint injury

4.Infertility

5.Death (In extreme cases)

Often, the women who suffer from this condition may not know that they have it. While eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa or bulimia can certainly cause the triad, often they are not. In fact, many women may simply not be eating enough to support their current training or exercise regime. Dr. Anastasia Fischer, an MD in Sports Medicine at Nationwide Children’s recommends that many girls and women may need to consume almost 3500 calories a day to support their current level of activity. This can be shocking to many women, and can be particularly difficult for younger women and girls who may be especially concerned about body image, or may not know how to recognize the warning signs that they are not eating enough. The first, and most dangerous, warning sign is changes in, or loss of menses. When a female’s body fat drops below safe levels, the body begins to shut down certain systems.  One of the most critical to female health, the reproductive system, is most heavily affected. This is important because estrogen, and the other female sex hormones are heavily involved in bone mineral density, heart health and fertility.  As a result, women who have insufficient nutrition often suffer from stress fractures, osteoporosis and infertility.  Many young women may not recognize the signs early on, due to normal irregularities in the menstrual cycle, or normal weight loss associated with exercise.  However, it is extremely important to diagnose the problem early, as persistent dysmenorrhea (abnormal menses) or amenorrhea (lack of menses) can lead to a permanent, serious problem. Remember, many women are not aware that this is a problem for them, and do not have an eating disorder, but just don’t consume enough to support their current level of physical activity.

Patrick

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