Sports Medicine Program

The Sports Medicine program in the Children’s Orthopaedic Center at Children's Hospital Los Angeles is the only comprehensive program in greater Los Angeles that can care for pediatric, adolescent and young adult athletes. Young athletes play hard and don't like being on the sidelines. Our team of doctors and therapists work with these athletes to minimize time away from sports and optimize safe participation.

Comprehensive Care for Young Athletes

Treating young athletes requires special expertise. These athletes are the most active group of people in our society and are the most at risk for injury. Further, our youngest athletes are still growing and a thorough understanding of the growing athlete is paramount to appropriate care. Our team provides evaluation, treatment and follow up care, including rehabilitation, to meet the special needs of this unique group of athletes. We offer the full complement of services including pre-participation physical exams, concussion care, non-surgical care of appropriate fractures and injuries as well as surgical care of all the injuries that young athletes may sustain. Our providers are experts in the latest arthroscopic and minimally-invasive surgeries, to help athletes play to the best of their ability.

Sports Medicine Research

Our sports medicine program is actively involved in research to further care of athletes. Some of the research being done is listed below.

  • ACL reconstruction in the growing child
  • Patellar stabilization in the growing child
  • Discoid meniscus
  • Osteochondritis dissecans of the knee
  • Concussions
  • Biomechanical Analysis
  • Operative and nonoperative care of the growing athlete
  • ACL reconstruction in the growing child
  • Patellar reconstruction in the growing child
  • Discoid meniscus
  • Fractures of the upper and lower extremity
  • Concussion/Sports-related head trauma

Sports Medicine Program Highlights

Our relationship with the Santa Monica Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Group allows for a collaboration of pediatric-trained sports medicine experts with the highest caliber of adult sports medicine surgeons, bridging the gap between childhood and adulthood care.

ACL Injuries

We are the leading center in the region that is comfortable in providing ACL (anterior cruciate ligament tears) reconstruction for growing child athletes. Growth disturbance is a real risk after ACL reconstruction in a child but our surgeons are trained in techniques to minimize this risk and get these patients back to sports safely. Hundreds of children with ACL tears have been treated by our surgeons and returned to sports of all types. Treatment for children with this condition has been provided effectively at all ages, even as young as 6 years old.

Patellar Instability

Dislocating kneecaps can be very problematic and are often the symptoms of underlying bony differences when this occurs in younger athletes. Often, successful management requires operative intervention but standard techniques risk injuries to growth plates. Our surgeons have developed procedures to avoid growth plates while stabilizing the knee cap so athletes can return to their prior level of athletic participation.

Osteochondritis Dissecans

Osteochondritis dissecans (OCD) is a rare condition that primarily affects small areas of bone that is immediately adjacent to cartilage in a joint. The knee is the most common location for OCD but it can also occur in other joints such as the elbow and ankle.

Non-Surgical Procedures

Many sports injuries, even many fractures, do not require surgical intervention. Often, a period of rest or physical therapy may be all that is needed. Our experts can help determine if this is the case.

Surgical Procedures

Bones in children and adolescents are still growing, meaning that it is crucial for surgeons to account for this during surgery. Our operating room is equipped with small joint arthroscopy equipment and the tools and experience necessary to care for the unique problems that are encountered by the growing athlete.

Our Team

The Sports Medicine Program provides a comprehensive team of uniquely trained physicians, equipped with experience in the treatment of complex sports-related injuries.

  • Orthopaedic surgeons 
  • Primary care sports medicine physicians 
  • Neuropsychologists 
  • Pain management physicians
  • Radiologists
  • Certified Athletic Trainers

In addition to the onsite team, we refer our patients to child specialists in the following areas:

  • Concussions
  • Health and fitness evaluations
  • Injury prevention
  • Performance tests
  • Physical therapy
  • Rehabilitation

Commonly Treated Sports Injuries

Injuries we treat:

  • ACL tears
  • Ankle disorders
  • Bone fractures
  • Concussions
  • Discoid meniscus
  • Elbow disorders
  • Joint disorders
  • Knee disorders
  • Kneecap dislocation
  • Ligament tears
  • Meniscal tears
  • Multiple sprains
  • Osteochondritis dissecans (OCD)
  • Overuse Injuries
  • Patellar instability
  • Shoulder instability and dislocations