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Dr Tod Sweeney, MD, Sports and Family Medicine of Colorado on Sports Injuries
Dr. Tod Sweeney, MD, Sports and Family Medicine of Colorado, Arvada, Colorado lives the lifestyle that earns his practice the label “healthy patients, healthy doctors.” An avid hiker, runner, biker and skier, Dr. Sweeney has competed in events such as the Leadville 100 mountain bike race. Originally from Colorado, Dr. Sweeney attended medical school at the University of Vermont and completed a family medicine residency at Maine Medical Center.
A former University of Pennsylvania baseball player, he brought his passion for athletics into the medical field by completing a primary care sports medicine fellowship at the University of Colorado. Being certified in family medicine and sports medicine is what gives his practice the traditional feel of a family physician with the added benefit of sports medicine expertise and advanced medical technologies.
An accomplished speaker and writer, Dr. Sweeney shares his knowledge at medical conferences across the country. He is a team physician for several local sports teams and area high schools. Dr. Sweeney helps many local athletes recover and prevent injuries. He is also a clinical instructor at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center.
We were fortunate enough to take a few minutes of Dr. Sweeney’s time to ask him about common sports injuries and their treatment.
Dr. Sweeney, what is the most common sports injury you see in your clinic?
Dr. Sweeney: We see a lot of different sports injuries, largely based on our training experience. My partner and I were originally trained in family medicine, but we both completed non-operative rotations in sports medicine. We see a lot of sprains and strains, a lot of knee pain, lower back pain, rotator cuff injuries and we also see a good number of concussions.
Doctor, are there any common beliefs about these types of injuries that could do people a disservice?
Dr. Sweeney: With concussions, for example, a lot of people believe that you have to be unconscious to have had a concussion. This is not the case. The other thing is that with children, because of their open growth plates, parents often don’t realize that this is a concern and something that we need to take into consideration when we do our assessment.
Are there any situations you encounter where your patients are unknowingly contributing to their condition?
Dr. Sweeney: If we go back to your first question, which is about some of the more common sports injuries we see, overuse injuries are actually very common. Often it is a problem where the athlete or individual is doing something too often or too intensely or the duration is not appropriate. They can unknowingly contribute to an overuse injury by doing the activity too often, too strenuously, or for too long.
Some of our endurance athletes, for example, we find that they sometimes try to overcome the pain when in fact they should limit their activities to minimize further injury. Often with overuse injuries they will reach that tipping point where it becomes a problem that really marginalizes them.
Is it possible to heal an injury and stay active?
Dr. Sweeney: Yes, it is. The key is whether they can engage in an activity that doesn’t delay the recovery process or cause further damage.
Doctor, is there anything people should do before seeking treatment for a sports injury?
Dr. Sweeney: I’m thinking of researching the doctor. It is important to find a doctor who is properly trained and certified in sports medicine.
I think the patient should also have a goal in terms of knowing what the diagnosis is, what the prognosis is, and what the treatment strategy should be. So I think it’s essential to have goals, but certainly to find someone who is well trained in their area of concern.
Dr. Sweeney, thank you for giving us an overview of sports injuries and their treatment.
Dr. Sweeney: It was my pleasure
Dr. Tod Sweeney, MD, Sports and Family Medicine of Colorado, Arvada, Colorado can be reached at his clinic in Arvada at 720-898-1110. The clinic’s website is sfmcolorado.com and the sports concussion center’s website is sportsccc.com
Kevin Nimmo is a writer and online media strategist. It interviews subject matter experts and educates its readers based on information provided by experts in their respective fields. He is also the editor of the Western Medical Journal.
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