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High School Athletics Safety Targeted at Sports Medicine Seminar for Coaches

Seventy-six area coaches and athletic directors went “back to school” on Aug. 9 to tackle prevention and treatment of sports-related injuries at the 4th annual North Oaks Sports Medicine Coaches’ Seminar. Those who attended the ½ day session, held in the E. Brent Dufreche Conference Center, earned four Certified Education Units (CEUs).

Presenters included: Orthopaedic Surgeons Bryan S. Dudoussat, MD, and Judson L. Penton, MD, of North Oaks Orthopaedic Specialty Center; Mental Training Specialist De’Jeune’ Green of Mental Playbook Consulting; Dr. Ryan Green of Varsity Sports; Sports Dietitian and Nutrition Consultant Tavis Piattoly of the New Orleans Saints, Pelicans and the Tulane University Athletic Department; and Jeffrey M. Schmitt of North Oaks Sports Medicine.

“Our goals are to help prevent sports injuries among young athletes through awareness and keep coaches current on rules and regulations,” asserts North Oaks Sports Medicine Supervisor Jeffrey M. Schmitt.
  • “We try to get athletes back at play as quickly as possible, but we must do so in a safe and healthy manner,” commented Orthopaedic Surgeon Bryan S. Dudoussat, MD. His presentation on “Specific Injury and Return-to-Play Guidelines” stressed the importance of balancing a player’s eagerness to play with returning to his or her sport in a safe and secure manner.

  • Orthopaedic Surgeon Judson L. Penton, MD, estimated that nearly 300,000 sports-related concussions and 4,000 deaths due to heat occur annually in his presentation, “Concussion and Heat Illness: Recognition, Treatment and Return to Play.” He added that contact sports athletes have a 19 percent chance of experiencing a concussion in a season, and teens, ages 15-19, are the most likely victims.

    To prevent heat illness, Penton suggested making sure athletes hydrate before and after practice and scheduling practice times at cooler parts of the day, to name only a few strategies.

    He added that coaches should limit contact to help prevent concussions during year-round football practices (pre-season, in-season, post-season, bowl season and spring).

Jewel Sumner High School Head Softball Coach Joanie Booty shared that Dr. Penton’s session provided a lot of information useful to her in her coaching role.

Dwayne Severio, Walker High School Head Football Coach and Athletic Director, noted that even after attending this seminar for the past 4 years, he continues to find them helpful.

“My takeaway today is stressing to my teams the importance of proper nutrition and staying hydrated to counteract the South Louisiana heat index we play in,” he commented.
  • The recent popularity of energy drinks among high school athletes is cause for alarm because they can elevate a student-athlete’s chances of heat stroke if used improperly, Sports Dietitian and Nutrition Consultant Tavis Piattoly shared in his talk on “Pre-Game Meals and Supplement Use: Danger vs. Benefit.”

    Piattoly explained that excessive intake of energy drinks could increase the risk of heat while training in a hot environment because they provide a quick boost of energy, followed by a rapid drop in blood pressure and increase in an individual’s core temperature.

Denham Springs Junior High School Basketball Coach Mike Picou, who has attended the seminar for the past 3 years, shared, “I’m already getting things together and plan to have a nutrition guide ready before the season starts.”

Loranger High School Assistant Baseball and Football Coach Mark Colona also found the session beneficial and has shared the nutrition facts received with his players.

“There was a lot of good information—especially about energy drinks. I couldn’t wait to tell my players about it,” he commented.
  • Colona remarked that he picked up some good tips during the session on “From Conventional Shoes to Barefoot – Where Do Your Athletes Fall” by Ryan Green, managing partner of Varsity Sports.

    Green suggested that there should be one-half inch between the longest toe and the end of an athletic shoe, and that an athletic shoe should be replaced after about 300-500 miles of use.

  • Mental Training Specialist De’Jeune’ Green reminded coaches and athletic directors that their teams are a reflection of them. She explained that the type of leadership methods used depends upon the specific needs of the team, and coaches should set goals, knowing what they can and cannot control.

  • Schmitt rounded out the program with an overview of North Oaks Sports Medicine services and LHSAA rules and regulations.

North Oaks Sports Medicine physical therapists, certified athletic trainers and technicians are responsible for the care of many junior high and high school student-athletes during local athletic events and varsity athletic practices. Those enrolled in the program may benefit from: sports enhancement and preventative medicine educational seminars; comprehensive rehabilitation by appointment; emergency acute care; participation in an annual “Physical Day,” which provides free physical screenings to eligible junior high and high school athletes; and a safe and healthy environment for sports participation.

For more information about the North Oaks Sports Medicine program, please call (985) 230-5248 or visit
From left, North Oaks Sports Medicine Supervisor Jeff Schmitt congratulates
Hammond High Magnet School Assistant Football Coach Sylvester Grays for winning the door prize drawing for a Yeti ice chest.

From left are: North Oaks Sports Medicine Certified Athletic Trainers Josh Dawsey and Mandy Trepagnier; Supervisor Jeff Schmitt;
and Certified Athletic Trainers Nate Borget, Jonathan Gantt and Whitney Adams.

Seventy-six area coaches and athletic directors went “back to school” on Aug. 9 to tackle prevention and treatment of
sports-related injuries at the 4th annual North Oaks Sports Medicine Coaches’ Seminar.