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.

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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


Meet the White Sox’s New Top Doc; Best Fats to Fuel your Workout

Episode 17.01 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.

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Segment One: Head team physician discusses his role keeping players on fieldDr. Nik Verma from Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush talks about his new role.  Hear how he and the other team physicians at Rush help keep Sox players healthy through the long baseball season.

  • Fellowship Director, Professor and Chief of Sports Medicine at Rush Universitynikhil verma Medical Center
  • Shoulder, Elbow and Knee Surgeon at Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush
  • Head Team Physician for Chicago White Sox & Team Physician for Chicago Bulls and Nazareth Academy
  • Advanced Arthroscopic Reconstructive Techniques and Cartilage Restoration expertise
  • Voted Top 10-15% of Top Doctors in America® by U.S.NewWorld Report and Castle Connolly
  • Associate Editor of the Arthroscopy Journal and Editorial Board Member of Journal of Knee Surgery

Segment Two: Karen Malkin discusses the importance of MCTs- medium chain triglycerides: what are they and why are so many athletes adding them to their fitness plans. We tend to think carbohydrates give us the most energy.  How do MCTs compare to carbohydrates for fuel?

Best fats to cook with: Olive oil is known to be one of the healthiest fats for cardiovascular health.  Why shouldn’t we cook with olive oil? What are the best fats for high heat cooking? Can you cook with MCT oil?

Dr. Cole and Steve talk with Karen about the effectiveness of her 14 Day Transformation Program. Enter ESPN1000 in the Coupon Code box for a $100 discount.

Lifestyle and health are transformed though integrative health coaching. Karen practices a client-centered approach that acknowledges the interdependent roles of mind, body and spirit, and the innate healing capacity within each person, with an emphasis on self-care. Read more >>


Meet the White Sox’s New Top Doc

Head team physician discusses his role keeping players on field

Dr. Nik Verma from Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush will be discussing his new role with Dr. Brian Cole & Steve Kashul on ESPN Chicago, Sports Medicine Weekly this coming Saturday, April 8th at 8:30AM . Tune in to WMVP AM 1000 to hear how he and the other team physicians at Rush help keep Sox players healthy through the long baseball season.

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.


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

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.