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With school sports underway for the fall after COVID-19 closures, the team of specialized sports medicine doctors at The Hand & Upper Extremity Center of Georgia is offering guidance to help protect the health and safety of student-athletes. Athletes or parents and guardians seeking specialized hand and upper extremity care are encouraged to call (404) 255-0226 to schedule a safe appointment in Atlanta at 980 Johnson Ferry Road NE, Suite 1020; in Alpharetta at 3400A Old Milton Parkway, Suite 350; or in Cumming at 2000 Howard Farm Drive, Suite 310. Telemedicine appointments are also available. 

“We are committed to the health and safety of student-athletes in the game and out in the world,” says Dr. Gary Lourie, board-certified, fellowship-trained hand and upper extremity surgeon at The Hand & Upper Extremity Center of Georgia. “To help athletes have the safest transition possible back to their school and sports activities, my team and I have developed a comprehensive list of guidelines to keep in mind as athletics resume.”

As official team physicians for Marist School and Mount Vernon Presbyterian School, the sports medicine providers at The Hand & Upper Extremity Center of Georgia understand the safety needs of athletes. To reduce the risk of viral spread in groups as well as the risk of injury, student-athletes and responsible parties should ensure these protocols and strategies are followed:

  • Follow all COVID-19–related regulations: In addition to maintaining social and physical distancing as best as possible and respecting guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, players, parents and coaches should follow any state, local, school, league and venue regulations set to combat the spread of COVID-19.
  • Health and hygiene are vital: Eat proper, nutritious meals, drink plenty of water and fluids and avoid overtraining. Also be sure to keep these practices: washing your hands, avoiding touching your face, wearing face coverings when appropriate as well as avoiding close physical contact with those outside of your household when able. Other ways to protect your health include:
    • See a doctor/medical provider if you can before training hard: While many schools and leagues require physicals before sports participation, athletes should get a physical from a medical professional as soon as possible even if they’re training individually to ensure the safety of their conditioning and intensity of their workouts.
    • Don't push too hard: As COVID-19 best practices and guidelines have restricted the activity levels of many, athletes should slowly and cautiously increase their training and skill-building exercises. Cardiovascular and muscular strength may be inhibited from months of indoor sheltering. It is important to pay attention to your limits and pains to avoid injury or other health problems.
    • Be cautious in the heat: The risk of heat-related illness is high in summer, especially for those who have remained indoors more frequently than normal during COVID-19. Athletes may need to slowly acclimate themselves to sun and heat. You should also stretch and warm up before activities, keep yourself well-hydrated and try to stay in shaded areas.

“We understand that athletes feel ready to return to the fields, courts and competitions, and we also know that this comes with a number of risks, including injury,” says Dr. Allan Peljovich, board-certified, fellowship-trained hand and upper extremity surgeon. “At The Hand & Upper Extremity Center of Georgia, we are here for local athletes, and we provide the high-level, specialized care and rehabilitative plans needed for sports-related injuries to ensure a safe return to play.”

The Hand & Upper Extremity Center of Georgia offers safe appointments in their offices in Atlanta, Alpharetta and Cumming. Their providers also offer telemedicine visits to provide remote consultation for hand and upper extremity problems that patients can access from the comfort of their own home or office.

To learn more or to schedule an appointment with the experts at The Hand & Upper Extremity Center of Georgia, please call (404) 255-0226.