Pediatric Sports Medicine Research

Our multidisciplinary team of physician-scientists conducts various research projects to help promote patient care and better educate families. We hope our research efforts will improve treatment for children with sports injuries and conditions.

Learn about other clinical studies and researchers in the list below.

Clinical Studies

“Longitudinal study of children with concussions: 3-year follow-up of cognitive and emotional function, return to sports, and risk of re-injury”

Principal Investigator: LaBella, Cynthia R., MD

In recent years, concern has increased regarding the prolonged effects of concussions in children and adolescents. Prior research shows that while most youth athletes with concussion recover within 2 weeks, about one-quarter of patients exhibit signs and symptoms lasting greater than 4 weeks. Families frequently ask about the effects of concussion on neuropsychological function, school performance, and risk for subsequent injuries, especially when a patient has had prolonged recovery. This study aims to longitudinally monitor these outcomes in children and adolescents to better inform clinicians, patients, and families about the long-term effects of concussions.

“Knee Injury Prevention Program (KIPP) for High School Girls”

Principal Investigator: LaBella, Cynthia R., MD

Female athletes are 4-6 times more likely to tear their ACL than male athletes participating in the same sports. Research has demonstrated that there are neuromuscular differences between males and females that explain this disparity in ACL injury rates. This study is being done to determine whether a specially designed exercise program (KIPP) can lower a female teenager’s chances of having a knee injury or knee pain while playing sports. The study is also being done to see if the exercise program can improve a teenager’s fitness or athletic performance.

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“Comparison of Three Treatments for Lower Extremity Apophysitis”

Principal Investigator: Carl, Rebecca L., MD ID: NCT01826071

The purpose of this study is to compare three different treatments for these types of lower extremity apophysitis- Osgood-Schlatter syndrome (OSS), Sinding-Larsen and Johansson syndrome (SLJ), or Sever's disease. The investigators hypothesize that adolescents who perform a home exercise program (HEP) consisting of active elongation exercises will have decreased pain and earlier return to sports and activities as compared to those who perform a HEP that consists of static stretching exercises or those who use symptomatic treatment with ice, acetaminophen or NSAIDs and activity modification.

“Registry of Prospective ACL Reconstruction Outcomes in Young Patients”

Principle Investigator: Neeraj Patel, MD

Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) rupture is an increasingly common diagnosis in the pediatric and adolescent population due to an increased participation in sports and improved physician awareness and ability to diagnose. Historically, non-operative management with physical therapy, bracing, and activity modification was used to manage ACL rupture in very young patients to allow time for growth before surgery. More recently, improved ACL reconstruction techniques and technology have made ACL reconstruction with autograft the gold standard for treating ACL rupture in young patients. The purpose of this study is to investigate the outcomes of autograft in adolescent patients by creating a database of prospectively identified patients who undergo ACL repair or ACL reconstruction. This research study will help us better understand graft survival rate, complication rates, and other factors associated with patient outcomes.

“The Pediatric ALL Evaluation and Trial (PALLET): A Randomized, Controlled Trial”

Principle Investigator: Neeraj Patel, MD

Studies have shown the rising incidence of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries in children and adolescents. Pediatric patients are at a higher risk of graft failure than adults (3-4% compared to 12-19%) after ACL reconstruction. In the adult population, a growing number of studies have suggested that concomitant reconstruction of the anterolateral ligament (ALL) with the ACL may help lower this risk. However, this has never been studied in adolescent populations. The goal of this randomized, controlled study is to evaluate whether concomitant ALL reconstruction in children undergoing ACL reconstruction will result in a lower rate of graft failure than ACL reconstruction alone.

Pediatric Tibial Spine Fractures Prospective Cohort

Principle Investigator: Neeraj Patel, MD

Tibial spine fractures are rare yet significant injuries that most commonly occur in children and adolescents. Treatment for this injury is controversial among physicians because there is no consensus on optimal treatment. The aim of this study is to prospectively examine numerous aspects of tibial spine fractures, including current treatment practices and short- and long-term outcomes. Additionally, this study will investigate if there is a genetic component involved in tibial spine injuries.