MOR's Tammy Sciortino and Dr. Blomgren Volunteer at Largest Gymnastics Meet in the World
Gymnasts' ankle sprains and strains... and a judge's heart attack symptoms. These were among the conditions that Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush's Tammy Sciortino, ATCL, and Joshua Blomgren, DO, treated while volunteering in the medical tent at the recent "IGI Chicago Style Gymnastics Meet" at Navy Pier in Chicago. With gymnasts ranging in age from four to 21 and from as far away as Mexico, this annual event is the largest gymnastics meet in the world.
"Typically, we see a combination of acute injuries, such as ankle sprains or fractures when an athlete falls or misses a landing or exacerbations of overuse injuries and nagging injuries, such as tendonitis and stress fractures" explains Dr. Blomgren. "I really didn't expect to see someone with heart attack symptoms. Fortunately, it was just a case of heartburn."
He also treated a gymnast who miscalculated a landing during a warm up floor routine and sprained both ankles.
Looking back on the four years he has volunteered at this meet, he recalls that the most dramatic injuries have been from injuries on the floor and the vault. "There is just such high energy during these two events."
Sciortino, who has volunteered at this event for 15 years, says she enjoys coming back each year and seeing familiar faces. "I've really gotten to know a lot of athletes in the gymnastics community by helping at this event," she explains.
With the increased competition in gymnastics worldwide, athletes are trying more difficult routines and are doing more combinations. This puts them at an increased risk for injury. Dr. Blomgren estimates that the Level 10 (the most elite level) gymnasts log between 30-40 hours a week in the gym. "Certain overuse injuries are more common in gymnastics than other sports, like osteochondritis dessicans in the elbow and stress fracture of the low back," he explains. "The nature of the sports lends itself to the development of these types of overuse injuries."
Both Dr. Blomgren and Tammy Sciortino encourage gymnasts — and all athletes — to maintain proper form, receive good training and seek medical attention when something hurts in order to prevent unnecessary injuries.
For additional information about adding this FREE Athletic Training Outreach Program to your sports team, club or event — contact Tammy Sciortino at Tammy.Sciortino@rushortho.com.