Do High Schools Need Athletic Trainers?; Understanding Elbow Injury; Advancements in Regenerative Medicine

Episode 17.02 with Hosts Steve Kashul and Dr. Brian Cole. Broadcasting on ESPN Chicago 1000 WMVP-AM Radio, Saturdays from 8:30 to 9:00 AM/c.

new host image

Segment One: Katie Varnado from ATI Physical Therapy talks about the responsibilities and qualifications for Athletic Trainers, the difference between pro & non-pro team trainers, the importance of having High School Trainers and how to promote their use.

Katie Varnado is a certified and licensed athletic trainer who is passionate aboutKatie Varnado educating others about concussions, growth plate injuries in athletes, and the need for athletic trainers. In her role as Sports Medicine Director at ATI Physical Therapy, she oversees and provides guidance to the athletic trainers ATI provides to local high schools and colleges and ensures all athletes are receiving comprehensive care to return to sport as quickly and safely as possible.

Katie received her bachelor’s degree in kinesiology with a concentration in athletic training from Illinois State University.  She then went on to earn a prestigious year long sports medicine fellowship at the Steadman Hawkins Clinic in Vail, CO.  Katie has over fourteen years of experience working with both collegiate and high school athletics as well as working with physicians.

Segment Two: Steve and Dr. Cole discuss the various types of elbow injuries, causes and treatments. Dr. Cole describes the many new and interesting advancements in Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Therapy – the future of research and applications.

Related Posts: 

Improve your Understanding with 3D Animation on UCL Reconstruction (Tommy John Surgery)

Baseball and Softball: Pain After Pitching

Limiting Innings Pitched after Tommy John Surgery for MLB Players

Shoulder and Elbow Overuse Injuries

Overuse Injuries in Young Athletes


Science of Pitching: Dr. Joshua Blomgren on FOX TV

Dr. Joshua Blomgren, Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush sports medicine physician and a team doctor for the Chicago White Sox, talks with Jake Hamilton of FOX TV’s Good Day Chicago about preventing and treating throwing injuries among baseball players. His patient Jake Smith recently had a ulnar collateral ligament tear and underwent Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) to treat it conservatively. Learn more about preventing common pitching injuries at

Find out more about Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Treatment.


Spare The Scalpel: A Surgeon’s Perspective on the Future of Orthopedic Medicine (A TEDx Talk)

Dr. Brian Cole from Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush discusses the evolution of orthopedic/sports medicine and the role of regenerative medicine, and medical technology…past, present and future. Presented on April 30, 2016 at the TEDxRushU Event, Rush University Medical Center.

Brian Cole MD Youtube Videos

TED is an annual event where innovative, interesting, and motivated individuals are invited to share their insights and passions. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design — three broad subject areas that are collectively shaping our future. Attendees have called it “the ultimate brain spa” and a “journey into the future.”

Brian J. Cole, MD, MBA, is a Professor in the Department of Orthopedics with an appointment in the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois; Chairman of Surgery at Rush Oak Park Hospital and head of the world’s most active Cartilage Research and Restoration Center specializing in alternatives to joint replacement for arthritis. He is a Team physician for the Chicago Bulls, Chicago White Sox and DePaul University.

BCMD white

Baseball and Softball: Pain After Pitching

By Paul Kohler, MS, OTR/L, CHT for Athletico

Baseball and Softball: Pain after PitchingTypes of pain and treatment options for athletes

Some discomfort in the throwing arm is common after a pitching session. After all, consistent overhead throwing is hard on the shoulder and elbow. But what is normal discomfort? What pains should be concerning to baseball/softball athletes? What pains should be examined by a professional? Find out more with the guide below:

Acceptable Discomfort

Discomfort described as soreness that spreads around the entire shoulder, and/or in muscles such as the biceps, triceps and forearm is to be expected. Oftentimes, pitchers will experience discomfort in their arm a day or two after throwing in a game.

To assist with the pain, athletes can consult their athletic trainer or physician. Oftentimes ice or over-the-counter anti-inflammatories are the recommendation. That said, the pain should subside on its own and discomfort should not be present for the pitcher’s next outing. If the pain continues, the athlete should consider scheduling a complimentary injury screen at their nearest Athletico location.

Concerning Pain

Pitchers should pay close attention to pain in specific areas of their shoulder or elbow. This is because pain in specific areas may indicate tissue breakdown and lead to a significant injury.

Pain in the elbow, for example, is concerning because of the lack of muscles crossing over this joint to provide stability. Instead, the elbow relies on its bone to bone anatomy and ligamentous structure. This means that pain in the elbow may signify some kind of irritation to the bones or ligaments, such as the ulnar collateral ligament (a.k.a Tommy John). Overuse of the throwing arm via high pitch counts and lack of rest, as well as improper throwing mechanics are usually the causes behind specific elbow and shoulder pain.

To assist with the pain, baseball and softball players can consult their athletic trainer or physician to see if treatment options like ice or over-the-counter anti-inflammatories are recommended. Athletes should also get plenty of rest. In fact, athletes should rest until throwing and/or pitching is pain free in order to avoid further injury.

Another treatment option for pain in the elbow or shoulder is to work with an Athletico overhead throwing specialist. Through a detailed history, and/or video throwing analysis, an Athletico specialist will differentiate between pain caused from overthrowing, mechanics or both. From there, an individualized treatment plan will be developed, with the goal of returning the athlete to the field pain free.

Injury Pain

Pain that significantly alters a pitcher’s performance, changes their mechanics, and does not go away with the before mentioned conservative measures (rest, ice, anti-inflammatories, mechanical adjustments) may indicate a significant injury has occurred.  Tears in the shoulder labrum, rotator cuff, elbow UCL, and avulsion fractures of the medial epicondyle are a few examples of injuries that significantly interfere with a pitcher’s performance. Diagnosing injuries of this magnitude most often will require the expertise of an orthopedic specialist. Treatment for these injuries may be as simple as a few bouts of physical/occupational therapy, or as complex as a surgical procedure with a lengthy recovery. That is why it is so important to be preventative when you start noticing the pains outlined above.

Better Safe than Sorry

Some discomfort in the throwing arm is common for pitchers, but every athlete is different. This is why it is important for each athlete to pay attention to their body and give themselves enough rest to recover from the wear and tear that occurs in practices and games. Moreover, if the pain doesn’t seem to be subsiding or is getting worse, it is a good idea to take the next step and contact Athletico Physical Therapy for a complimentary injury screening.

Click to Schedule a Complimentary Injury Screen

Customize Your Protection with DonJoy Defender Skin

It’s your padding, your way. With DEFENDER SKIN, you can create and apply custom shaped hex strips that act like a protective second skin. It’s the padding that stays in place to avoid bumps and abrasions from your sport.


When it comes to protecting your body during sport, you should never sacrifice comfort or performance. DEFENDER SKIN is the lightest, most flexible, and most versatile form of protection available to athletes today, no matter what game they play. It’s a uniquely engineered, breathable adhesive second skin designed to defend the body against cuts, scrapes, burns, pain and bruising often associated with the impact and abrasion of rigorous sports.


    Pad Orientation allows wearer to customize their protection and place anywhere

  • B – EVA FOAM

    1/8″ thick EVA foam pads protect against impact and abrasion


    Ultra thin PU Skin with 4-way stretch properties and micro perforations moves with you

Also available in Elbow and Knee Pads






DonJoy Performance

Limiting Innings Pitched after Tommy John Surgery for MLB Players

With the stakes so high for pitchers in Major League Baseball (MLB), it is critical to gettommy john answers regarding one of the most rapidly growing procedures in orthopedics – ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction (UCLR), a.k.a., Tommy John Surgery. To reduce the chances of pitchers having to undergo a revision UCLR, it has been suggested that the number of innings pitched post-operatively in the MLB pitcher’s first season back should be limited. Researchers from Rush University Medical Center have just reported results indicating that this is likely unnecessary.

The physician-scientists, who included Anthony Romeo, M.D., Nikhil Verma, M.D.Charles Bush-Joseph, M.D., Bernard Bach, Jr., M.D., Gregory Cvetanovich, and Brandon Erickson, M.D., found that the number of innings pitched and number of pitches thrown in the first full season as well as over a player’s career after UCLR are not associated with an increased risk having to undergo a revision UCLR.

All MLB pitchers between 1974 and 2015 who pitched at least one full season following UCLR were included in the study. They analyzed the recorded pitch counts and innings pitched for the first full season after UCLR, as well as total pitch count and total innings pitched over the pitcher’s entire career. Pitch counts and innings pitched were compared among players who required revision UCLR and those who did not. Of the 154 pitchers in the study, only 19 had to undergo revision UCLR.

Dr. Romeo explains, “Estimates of return to play are eye-opening. Approximately 20% of MLB players will not achieve their pre-injury level of performance following this surgery, and it takes the ones who do return to their pre-injury level of play an average of 15 months or longer to do so. Preventing a second injury to the elbow is critical as revision surgery is much less successful at returning the pitcher to the same level of play. However, it does not appear that instituting limits on the number of innings pitched after a full return to pitching has an impact on preventing revision UCLR surgery.”

View the entire study in The American Journal of Sports Medicine.

Find out more about Tommy John Surgery.