The fall sports season is right around the corner and staying healthy is just as important as ever for young athletes at the high school level.

Two local Atchison medical practitioners will be conducting physicals for young athletes in August.

They also share their thoughts and advice for the upcoming sports season.

Dr. Stephen Wheatley is a chiropractor who was born and raised in Atchison.

His father, Ron Wheatley, was also a chiropractor in Atchison through the 70s, 80s and early 90s.

Pam Rizza has been practicing sports medicine at Atchison Hospital for five years.

Wheatley said he has seen the load younger athletes take on just continue to grow through the years.

“When I started twenty some years ago we were still in the middle of kids just doing one or two sports,” Wheatley said. “Now athletes these days are year-round.”

Wheatley said he often advises some kids to just pick one or two sports with the continued rise of injuries for high school athletes.

“We’re seeing a lot more injures at the high school level that we used to not see at the college level because of the wear and tear of the athlete’s body,” Wheatley said. “Sometimes I tell them to pick your favorite two and just concentrate on those.”

Rizza shares a slightly different position on the issue of athletes possibly attempting too many sports through the year.

“I think it’s really important that we don’t sport specialize them,” Rizza said. “It decreases over-use injures, can work on some muscle use that some sports don’t touch and prevents mental burnout as well.”

Wheatley also said to always listen to trainers in regards to when athletes can get back on the field or court after an injury.

“Listen to the trainer’s advice when it comes to rehab,” Wheatley said. “Don’t think the pain is gone I can get back on the field. If the trainers says to do a couple more days of rehab, do it.”

Rizza also stressed the importance of time off for younger athletes.

“I always recommend one if not two days of complete rest,” Rizza said. “Rest can be just as important for young athletes for development, just as much as practicing.”

Rizza also gave instructions on what kids should do when they come in for a physical at Atchison Hospital Friday August 16 from 4-8 p.m.

“It’s important for the kids to bring the forms completely filled out and have their parents help them fill it out,” Rizza said. “They should come in athletic apparel as well.”

Wheatley will be conducting physicals Saturday August 2 at a reduced price and all throughout the next week.

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