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Sports symposium set to take place Saturday

ALBANY -- Heat illness, medical red flags, concussions and prevention of orthopedic sports injuries are just a few of the topics that coaches throughout the region will hear during the first Regional Coaches Sports Symposium on July 21.

The 8:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. symposium is free, includes lunch and is open to coaches from all areas of Southwest Georgia. It will be held at Phoebe Northwest, located at 2336 Dawson Road.

Essentially, it will be an overview of symptoms to look for and what coaches can do to help when their athletes become sick or injured.

"There will be multi-county representation (participating in the event)," said Dr. Troy Skidmore, orthopedic specialist with Phoebe Orthopaedic Specialty Group. "We are expecting a great turnout.

"We just wanted to volunteer our time to help the community."

The symposium is one of two events Phoebe Orthopaedic Specialty Group and Phoebe Sports Medicine are sponsoring for coaches. The second symposium event will be held in January, officials say.

"We expect to do this on a bi-annual basis," said Skidmore. "We hope this will be something we can build on.

"This is a growing industry. This is something I'm compassionate about, and the other physicians in the practice are compassionate about. Our goal is to keep athletes on the field."

Both events will earn grade-school coaches Professional Learning Units (PLUs) and provide an opportunity for coaches to ask questions of the physicians and sports medical specialists, coordinators of the event say.

There are a variety of things Skidmore says he sees as far as sports-related injuries are concerned, ranging from ankle sprains and broken collarbones to knee and shoulder ligament injuries to growth plate fractures.

"Sprains and strains are the most common, and heat illnesses and fractures are less common," Skidmore said.

There is also a growing trend, Skidmore added, with more female student athletes coming in with injuries -- particularly those who have yet to reach their high school years.

High school and middle school teachers may receive PLUs through the Southwest Georgia Regional Educational Service Agency (RESA), and Worth County Schools attendees may earn credit through their curriculum coordinator, event coordinators say.

College coaches are also welcome to attend. All coaches will receive a certificate of participation at the symposium, officials added.

The event is expected to include a breakfast and a lecture on concussions and heat-related illnesses by family practice physicians. The three physicians of Phoebe Orthopaedic Specialty Group will each present individual topics, such as trauma injuries and wrist injuries.

Skidmore said he would be giving an overview of knee and shoulder injuries. After lunch, there will be a taping clinic conducted, he added.

To prevent such injuries, Skidmore advises athletes to do off-season training.

"This can limit practice and in-season injuries," he said. "(Without off-season training), athletes show up on the first day and the coach wants them to do X, Y, Z ... and they are not ready."

As far as heat-related illnesses -- specifically heat stroke and heat exhaustion -- are concerned, it is advised to learn how to hydrate properly.

"There are a lot of drinks out there, and athletes may actually be dehydrated by certain drinks," Skidmore said.

For more information, contact London Mainor, service line marketing account executive at Phoebe Putney Health System, at (229) 347-0262.