All athletes deserve the very best sports-related care and treatment that’s one-on-one and state-of-the-art. At Cleveland Clinic Sports Health, this involves conditioning to become stronger and faster, maximizing abilities, treating injuries if they do occur and improving future performance.
Our experts treat athletes in all sports, all ages and skill levels. As our patient, you have access to the same specialists who treat Cleveland’s professional sports teams and the orthopaedic program ranked #3 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.
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Team and Event Medical Services
- We provide team physicians and athletic trainers for professional sports teams, high schools and college athletics.
- We offer educational opportunities for athletes, athletic trainers, physicians and coaches.
- We provide medical care for athletes at major sporting events.
Official Team Physicians for:
The Cleveland Cavaliers
The Cleveland Indians
Baldwin Wallace College
Cleveland State University
John Carroll University
Notre Dame College
Cuyahoga Community College - West Campus
High School Athletes
Greater Cleveland Sports Commission
Greater Cleveland Triathlon
North Coast Multisports
Northern Ohio PGA
What We Treat
What is a Sport and Exercise Medicine physician?
Physicians specializing in sports and exercise medicine undergo their initial training and board certification in a specialty such as family medicine, pediatrics, internal medicine, emergency medicine or physical medicine and rehabilitation. They then complete a one-two year training fellowship in sports medicine. This branch of medicine is dedicated to the comprehensive care of athletes and active individuals, promoting lifelong fitness and wellness, and encouraging the prevention of illness and injury.
What do they treat?
A sport and exercise medicine physician’s scope of care includes diagnosing and managing acute injuries, musculoskeletal conditions and illnesses (both chronic and acute) that can potentially affect performance.
Common conditions treated and services provided may include:
- Acute and overuse injuries (sprains, strains, fractures, tendonitis)
- Joint injections (corticosteroid or viscosupplementation)
- Injury prevention
- Return-to-play decisions for the sick or injured athlete
- Athletes with chronic or acute illnesses (such as mono, asthma, hypertension or diabetes)
- Athletes with chronic musculoskeletal conditions (chronic muscle injuries, arthritis of various joints)
- Exercise and performance counseling
When surgery is needed, our sports and exercise medicine physicians can provide easy access to our orthopaedic surgeons for help for both overuse or traumatic injuries, including:
- Torn ligaments (such as ACLs) and tendons
- Broken bones
- Damaged cartilage
- Arthritis and other degenerative conditions
- Complex problems of the shoulder of instability and dislocation
- Complex throwing related problems of shoulder and elbow
- Hip impingement
Our surgeons use minimally invasive techniques whenever possible to minimize pain, scarring and recovery time. Our services include:
- Arthroscopic surgery of shoulders, elbows, hips and knees
- Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction
- Meniscus transplant surgery
- Hamstring repairs
- Advanced surgery for articular cartilage
- Partial joint replacements
- Tommy John surgery
Our surgeries are typically done as outpatient, where the patient undergoes regional anesthetic rather than general anesthesia which leads to quicker recovery.
Orthopaedic surgeons work side by side with sports and exercise medicine physicians in the office and on the sidelines. Both specialize in diagnosing and managing musculoskeletal injuries that occur acutely and over time.
Sports Specific Rehabilitation and Performance
Proper early rehabilitation is essential for a swift recovery from injury. Our physical therapists, exercise physiologists, athletic trainers and strength and conditioning specialists collaborate to maximize care for each individual. Patients have access to advanced rehabilitation equipment and the latest in rehabilitation techniques. Our emphasis is on efficient transition from rehabilitation to peak athletic performance, and we pay special attention on educating patients to avoid re-injury.
Integrative Sports Medicine
After an injury, every athlete hopes to heal and get back to the game as quickly as possible. Our Sports Health team collaborates with experts from Cleveland Clinic's Center for Integrative Medicine to provide services with a special focus on supporting the body’s natural abilities to heal after a sports-related injury or condition, using techniques such as:
Combined with standard treatments, integrative medicine techniques can help reduce chronic conditions that prevent top-level performance, speed recovery from acute injuries, and enhance and improve conditioning and strength.
Chiropractic Sports Medicine
You can be confident that your Cleveland Clinic sports and exercise medicine specialist will recommend care that does not involve surgery whenever possible. Chiropractic sports medicine has proven effective in treating a wide range of acute and chronic athletic injuries, including:
- Overuse injuries
- Shoulder pain
- Peripheral nerve entrapment syndromes
Our certified chiropractic sports physician is skilled at identifying problems with body mechanics and eliminating the source of pain without surgical intervention.
Pediatric and Adolescent Sports Medicine
Children aren't just small adults; they need specialized care for any sports-related injuries or conditions.
Our dedicated team of sports medicine experts are specifically trained to provide comprehensive assessment and treatment for both non-surgical and surgical issues in children, teens and young adults, including:
- ACL tears
- Shoulder instability
- Joint cartilage problems, especially involving the knee and elbow
- Throwing and overuse injuries
- Sport-specific rehabilitation
We also are actively involved in ongoing research with other U.S. children’s hospitals to improve understanding and treatment for various pediatric sports injuries.
Dance Medicine Clinic
Cleveland Clinic has recently started a Dance Medicine clinic utilizing a multidisciplinary approach to rehabilitation, involving practitioners interested in the care of both amateur and professional dancers.
Performers interested in being seen in Dance Medicine clinic may call 216.518.3475 to arrange for an appointment.
Where: Cleveland Clinic Sports Health
5555 Transportation Blvd, Garfield Heights, OH 44125
When: Dance Medicine Clinic is on the second and fourth Tuesday each month from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Nutrition for Athletes
Optimal nutrition is important for maximizing your stamina and ability to perform. Our sports health nutritionists can help you stay healthy, avoid injury or accelerate your healing. Nutritional requirements vary by sport, so our nutritionists will work with you one-on-one to design a nutrition plan that helps you achieve you goals, including:
- Improving your diet and hydration status to maximize your performance or workout
- Assist with weight loss, muscle and weight gain
- Prevention of bone loss and injuries
- Playing your best with a chronic condition, such as diabetes or heart disease
Cleveland Clinic Courage Award
Cleveland Clinic Sports Health Courage Award is an honor given annually by the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission in collaboration with Cleveland Clinic Sports Health at the Greater Cleveland Sports Awards banquet each January. It is awarded to a student athlete who has faced a medical challenge in his or her life and approached the situation with courage and determination to get back into the game.
2017 Courage Award
If you know a student athlete who has overcome a medical challenge in his or her life and would like to submit them for the 2017 Courage Award nominate them today.
2016 Courage Award
Presented by Cleveland Clinic Sports Health
2016 Award Recipient: Kendra Seitz, Hudson Explorers Aquatics Team (HEAT), Swimming
Kendra Seitz is a sixth grade competitive swimmer on the Hudson Explorers Aquatics Team (HEAT). Having swam competitively since 2013, Seitz has distinguished herself as a strong athlete. However, Seitz’ journey to becoming an athlete is a story full of courage.
In 2009, Seitz became ill during the Fourth of July holiday. Initially, it appeared that she was dehydrated but later tests revealed a more severe diagnosis. Seitz was in cardiac failure and would need a heart transplant.
She was taken via life flight to Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital where the Seitz Family met Dr. Gerald Boyle, medical director of Pediatric Heart Failure & Transplant Services at Cleveland Clinic. Six days after she was admitted to the hospital, Seitz received a new heart.
“Kendra has the kind of quiet courage that surprises and inspires us all,” said Dr. Boyle. “Her courage and determination during her recovery left no doubt that she had the heart of a fighter. In fact, the heart of an Olympian. It may have taken her two tries, but she definitely has the heart of a champion.”
Since the cardiac transplant left Seitz weak and unable to walk, Cleveland Clinic physical therapists used Aqua Therapy to strengthen her muscles. She used a pool at the rehabilitation facility to heal her body and rebuild confidence after surgery. Though Seitz had entered rehab in a wheelchair, she left walking. Cleveland Clinic was a driving force in helping Seitz achieve her dream of becoming a competitive swimmer.
In June 2016, Seitz competed in the Transplant Games of America, an event that promoted the importance of organ, eye and tissue donation that was secured and managed by the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission. She swam in the 50-meter race and received a gold medal in both the butterfly and breaststroke. Additionally, Seitz was awarded a silver medal in the freestyle and a bronze medal in the backstroke.
Seitz is currently in her first year of middle school. She is excelling academically, having made the Distinguished Honor Roll. She lives with her parents, Lea and Leo, and two younger siblings, Ashlie and Andrew.
When asked what courage means to her, Seitz answered, “Courage is not giving up and believing in yourself.”
Previous Courage Award Recipients
- 2015: Colin Teets, Westlake High School, Hockey
- 2014: Nick Lenyo, Huron High School, Football
- 2013: Courtney Belmonte, Westlake High School, Cheerleading
- 2012: Molly Miller, Notre Dame Academy, Soccer
- 2011: Brandee Kelly, Cleveland State University, Basketball