AMSSM Announces Launch of Youth Sport Advocacy Toolkit

The AMSSM Youth Sport Advocacy Team, in collaboration with the AMSSM Collaborative Research Network (CRN) and Practice & Policy Committee, is pleased to announce the launch of the AMSSM Play.Stay.Thrive youth sport toolkit.

This toolkit was developed by AMSSM sports medicine physicians to help educate parents and other youth sport stakeholders on good practices for safe and healthy youth sport participation. AMSSM believes participation in youth sports provides kids with important skills and habits to live a healthy and physically active life through adulthood.

However, parents should also be aware of the risks associated with training and participation in youth sport. This toolkit aims to answer common questions parents have regarding the risks, benefits and appropriate practice habits of sport participation for their young athletes.

“I’m so excited to be able offer evidence-based information to help families and health care providers provide a safe developmental environment within youth sports through the AMSSM Toolkit,” said Drew Watson, MD, MS, the Co-Chair of the toolkit. “It can often be difficult for young athletes and their families to identify reliable and applicable guidance around issues related to long-term health and performance within youth sports.

“My hope is that the toolkit we have put together will be able to bridge this gap and provide stakeholders with answers to some of the most pressing questions we hear so often as providers for young athletes.”

This toolkit, which stems from outcomes of the AMSSM CRN 2019 Youth Early Sport Specialization Summit (YESSS!), provides evidence-based resources for physicians to use with patients and families in their clinical practices as well as in their communities. The Q&A format allows for easily understood answers to common questions pertaining to youth sport.

Physicians can print the PDFs and display in their clinic space and direct patients and families to this resource.  Additionally, our members are encouraged to use and promote this resource in their communities when they interact with youth sport stakeholders and organizations. Additional resources, including short physician-led videos, will be added to this toolkit throughout the summer.

This toolkit is located on the website, underneath the Patients link and will be prominently featured on the SportsMedToday website. 

Additionally, in mid-May, the CRN will launch two grant opportunities related to this toolkit. The first opportunity will involve two $20,000 research focused grants to assess knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs associated with use of the toolkit and its contents. The second opportunity will offer numerous community engagement grants of up to $5000 for members to share and disseminate this toolkit within their communities and/or clinical practice.

“Sports are not only fun for kids but are also so important for their health and wellbeing. Beyond building strong muscles, bones and a healthy heart, sports help kids build social-emotional skills and perform better in school,” said Cynthia LaBella, MD, FAMSSM, the Chair of the AMSSM Practice and Policy Committee. “AMSSM advocates for increasing opportunities for all kids to participate in sports, and developed the Youth Sports Toolkit to provide parents with practical tips for supporting a fun, healthy and safe sports experience for their children.”

About the AMSSM: AMSSM is a multi-disciplinary organization of sports medicine physicians dedicated to education, research, advocacy and the care of athletes of all ages. The majority of AMSSM members are primary care physicians with fellowship training and added qualification in sports medicine who then combine their practice of sports medicine with their primary specialty. AMSSM includes members who specialize solely in non-surgical sports medicine and serve as team physicians at the youth level, NCAA, NFL, MLB, NBA, WNBA, MLS and NHL, as well as with Olympic and Paralympic teams. By nature of their training and experience, sports medicine physicians are ideally suited to provide comprehensive medical care for athletes, sports teams or active individuals who are simply looking to maintain a healthy lifestyle. www.amssm.org