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Women In Sports Symposium

May 12, 2000

Women in Sports Symposium

When: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, May 20

Where: Robinwood Medical Center Conference Room (blue entrance)

Cost: $10 per person, including lunch. Registration is required.

For information or to register: Call Total Rehab Care at 301-714-4025 or 1-877-793-7422.

By KERRY LYNN FRALEY / Staff Writer

It happened during a championship soccer game - Smithsburg High against North Hagerstown High - on Sept. 4, 1999.

Smithsburg goalkeeper Lauren Church was booting a ball heading for her team's goal when an opponent slid on the wet field and struck her knee so hard her leg bent backward.

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"Once I fell and heard the pop, I didn't know what was happening. I started screaming in pain," said Church, 16, who got up, found she couldn't walk and was carried off the field.

A week later, she went to see Dr. Ralph T. Salvagno, an orthopedic surgeon at the Altizer-Salvagno Center for Joint Surgery at Robinwood Medical Center. He diagnosed an anterior cruciate ligament injury.

In October, Salvagno performed patellar tendon graft surgery, substituting strings of tendon for the ligament, to fix Church's injury. He expects Church will be healed in time to rejoin Smithsburg's soccer team in the fall.

Damage to the anterior cruciate ligament - which controls forward movement and rotation of the knee - and the surgery to fix it are all too common among young women athletes, said Salvagno, who will focus on the problem at the Women in Sports Symposium Saturday, May 20, at Robinwood Medical Center.

It doesn't require the wallop Church took, either, said Salvagno, who has seen numerous cases in his practice and in his role as a girls' soccer coach.

Anterior cruciate ligament injuries that happen without contact are two to six times more common in women than in men, said Salvagno, who will talk about research into what causes the proneness.

Possible reasons include a less thick cross section of bone in the knee, looser ligaments and differences in movement during jumping and landing, he said.

Salvagno will be one of seven local health experts speaking at the symposium. They will look at a variety of topics pertinent to female athletes of all ages.

Holistic approach

The event is the first in the area to focus on issues specific to women athletes in a holistic approach, said Jeanni Moyer, a physical therapist and orthopedic program manager for rehabilitation at Total Rehab Care.

Total Rehab Care, a department of Washington County Hospital, is sponsoring the symposium.

The idea for the event was born more than a year ago from the observation that while a lot of attention is given to male sports, particularly football, female athletes' health issues have historically been underaddressed, Moyer said.

Increased susceptibility to knee injury is only one of many ways female athletes differ from their male counterparts, according to Dr. Dan Sullivan, a physiatrist at Physical Medicine Specialists and coordinator of the new sports medicine program at Robinwood.

Osteoporosis, eating disorders and amenorrhea - the suspension of menstruation - are among the preventable problems common in female athletes, said Sullivan, who will give an overview at the event.

Other speakers at the Women in Sports Symposium include:

* Dr. William Kerns, who practices pediatrics and internal medicine in Smithsburg. He will focus on nutritional supplements.

* Dr. Eva Olah, a Hagerstown obstetrician/gynecologist, who will talk about amenorrhea, anorexia, bone density issues and other topics related to her specialty and female athletes.

* Dr. Katharyne Sullivan, a child and adolescent psychiatrist, who will focus on sports psychology, the impact of nutrition and exercise and how the female athlete copes with it mentally.

* Cheryl Frushour, a nutritionist at Washington County Hospital, who will talk about proper nutrition, a balanced diet, sports drinks and eating to prepare for a sporting event.

* Kelly Sprinkle, an exercise physiologist at Gold's Gym in Hagerstown, who will discuss exercise and weight training.

See also:




-- Symposium Tips


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