New UAlberta free sports injury clinic quick to get young athletes back on their feet

The Acute Youth Injury Clinic will provide timely assessments to youth sports players in need of urgent care

Amanda Anderson - 7 October 2020

A new clinic at the University of Alberta is helping young athletes return to play thanks to specialized care.

The Glen Sather Sports Medicine Clinic launched the Acute Youth Injury Clinic on September 4, aiming to provide patients with timely sports medicine services and ease the burden on emergency departments.

Terry DeFreitas, director of sports medicine at the Glen Sather Clinic said that the new clinic will benefit youth who need to have their injuries urgently assessed.

“We are hoping that with this focused clinic, youth athletes can access sports medicine services quickly. Receiving a sports medicine management plan as soon as possible after an injury is very important, and this clinic will help us provide that service.”

Unlike most sports medicine services, the youth clinic does not require a referral from a physician. Instead, appointments run on self-referrals during a two-hour window from 7:00 to 9:00 a.m. every Friday. 

The clinic will also allow patients who have suffered an acute injury to access care free of charge.

“There is no fee for a sports medicine assessment at this weekly clinic. Any patient with an Alberta Personal Health Card will be able to access our services,” said DeFreitas, who is also an assistant professor in the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry.

Athletes will be seen for typical sports injuries, such as fractures, ligament tears and muscle strains.

“We’re mostly looking at musculoskeletal injuries that have occurred in the last 72 hours and do not require immediate emergency care. We won’t be treating things like broken bones and lacerations. Individuals experiencing these types of injuries should still visit their primary physician or the emergency department first.”

Although in its pilot phase, DeFreitas is hoping that the clinic will become a permanent fixture that includes physiotherapy services.

“Right now, we have our group of sports medicine physicians trialing the clinic, but eventually we’d like to add in a physiotherapy model to provide the full gamut of treatment.”

Until then, physicians are hard at work proving that timely care for youth athletes can be beneficial for the sports community.

“What we’re doing right now is very similar to the varsity sport model, where a team physician treats injuries as soon as they happen,” explained DeFreitas. “Our goal is to offer the same kind of care—to make sure we are doing the best we can for the sports community here in Edmonton and beyond.”

The Glen Sather Clinic also continues to offer non-urgent appointments to athletes of all ages through a referral process. Athletes with an injury several weeks or months old can be seen during regular sports medicine hours.

For more information about accessing the clinic, visit the Glen Sather Clinic website or call 780-407-5160.