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Sports Medicine Program

The CHOC Sports Medicine Program offers young athletes unrivaled services for their sports-related needs. Under the direction of Dr. John Schlechter, we work one-on-one with each patient to develop a unique plan—with an emphasis on preserving future growth and function, and a safe return to play. Whatever the sport, we’ll make sure young athletes are playing at the top of their game.

Injuries in childhood and adolescence can have lasting effects into adulthood. Our pediatric-trained orthopaedic surgeons and physical therapists treat young athletes with a specialized care not seen at adult practices. Whether it’s physical therapy or surgery with rehabilitation, our team is here to help athletes recover safely and return to play.

What We Treat

In growing children, injuries in the muscles, ligaments, tendons, bones and joints often are quite different from conditions seen in older patients. We provide young athletes with specialized, comprehensive care for all sports-related injuries and conditions, including:

  • Concussions and traumatic brain injuries
  • Spine injuries, including neck pain, low back sprain/strain, disc herniations and stress fractures
  • Bone and growth plate fractures, joint dislocations, ligament sprains and tears, muscle strains and tears, and cartilage injuries
  • Injuries to the shoulder, elbow and wrist including dislocations, separations, labral tears and “Little League” elbow or shoulder
  • Injuries to the hips, legs, knees, ankles and feet, including patellar dislocations, meniscal tears, ACL/PCL tears, and hamstring and groin strains
  • Overuse injuries, including tendonitis, bursitis, growth plate injuries and rotator cuff injuries.

Treatment Options

We offer a host of both surgical and non-surgical treatments for sports injuries, including:

Be sure to consult your child’s doctor if there is a prolonged, visible deformity of the affected area, or if severe pain prevents use of the arm, leg, wrist, ankle or knee.

If your child has sustained a concussion or head injury, be sure to get your child in to see his or her pediatrician and start a rest and recovery plan. For severe concussions or concussion symptoms that won’t go away, the CHOC Concussion Program is here for you.

Sports Injury Prevention

Most injuries can be prevented by proper training, protective gear and spreading out athletic activities so that parts of the body are not overused. It’s also important that athletes who sustain an injury have adequate rehabilitation and down-time, to minimize further problems. Learn more about injury prevention.

Is your athlete okay to play?

To address the growing incidence of sudden cardiac arrest in young athletes, our sports medicine team collaborates with the CHOC Heart Institute to offer the Life-Threatening Events Associated with Pediatric Sports (LEAPS) program. Learn how your child's school can help prevent a serious event.
Sustaining a concussion is a serious matter that often needs more than a trip to the emergency room or a bag of ice. Our concussion team, led by pediatric neurologists, can help your family with a carefully guided plan to manage symptoms and return to sports and school. Learn more about our Concussion Program.
Exercise-induced asthma is frequently diagnosed in children and adolescents. Our pediatric allergists can thoroughly screen an athlete to make sure he or she is ready to play. Learn more about our pediatric asthma testing.
Competition can cause some athletes to react both physically and mentally in a way that can affect their performance negatively. They can work through these issues and improve athletic performance with the help of a sports psychologist. Our psychologists help young athletes develop the mental skills necessary to: perform consistently in training and competition, increase adherence to exercise programs, realize their athletic potential, and identify specific behaviors and emotions that impede performance. Our experts can also offer coping strategies when an injury affects ability to participate in sports or exercise activities. To schedule an appointment with a sports psychologist, please call (714) 509-8481.

At CHOC, we have expertise in both pediatrics and sports health. We know young athletes like no one else.

If you're on the fence about your child playing contact sports, neurologist Dr. Sharief Taraman warns of concussion and says you should weigh the risks.

Sports medicine specialist Dr. John Schlechter explains how female athletes are eight times more likely to have an ACL tear in the knee than male athletes.

Cardiologist Dr. Anjan Batra discusses the causes of sudden cardiac death and recommends that young athletes get a heart screening before playing sports.

Pediatric psychologist Dr. Nadia Torres-Eaton gives six ways to help young athletes overcome mental barriers and improve their game.

Connect with the Sports Medicine Team

We have a team of pediatric sports medicine physicians, with board certification in orthopaedic surgery and special training to treat young athletes:

Also on our team are physical therapists, certified athletic trainers and psychologists, all skilled at helping athletes do their best and stay safe and healthy.


For more on our sports medicine services or to make an appointment, please call CHOC Rehabilitation Supervisor Mollee Oh, PT, DPT, OCS, at 714-509-3203.

CHOC Hospital Bill Holmes Tower

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