The Secrets to Staying in the Game

If you have a passion for sports and physical activity, you know how frustrating it can be to find yourself sidelined by an injury.

Whether you’re a professional athlete or a weekend warrior, Watson Clinic’s Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine department caters to your ever need. Their team of board-certified physicians and certified physical therapists and athletic trainers can help you stay active on the field and in the game of life.

The Lakeland Futbol Club spoke with Dr. Salvador Montenegro, a board-certified Sports Medicine specialist at both Watson Clinic’s Main campus and their recently opened Physical Therapy & Sports Medicine location, about the services offered through their department, and the steps we all can take to improve our level of fitness while reducing the risks of injury.

Tell me a little about Watson Clinic’s Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine department.

Our department specializes in general injury prevention techniques, surgical repairs of acute injuries, joint replacements, comprehensive physical rehabilitation services, and so much more.  We’re backed by the latest technologies, such as highly advanced imaging equipment and minimally invasive surgical tools.  Our patients also benefit from easy referrals to additional Watson Clinic specialists across 40 specialties, including family medicine and cardiology.

The reputation we’ve cemented over the course of over 75 years has attracted some of the most accomplished sports organizations in our community. This includes high school and university-level teams, where we often attend games and work closely with their athletic staff to ensure that each player receives top level care. We’re also the official medical provider for the Detroit Tigers Florida Operations and the Lakeland Flying Tigers, and we enjoy an exclusive collaboration with the Lakeland Futbol Club.

This same brand a major-league care is afforded to every patient we treat both from our Main Clinic location at 1600 Lakeland Hills Boulevard in central Lakeland, and our terrific new Physical Therapy & Sports Medicine facility at 2190 E. County Rd. 540A in south Lakeland.

One of the most dreaded injuries among all athletes – but particularly children and teens – are concussions.  What can be done to protect against these risks?

It is a serious concern.  According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the number of reported concussions has increased by 200% among teens between the ages of 14 and 19 over the last decade, and they’ve also risen dramatically for younger children as well. 

Here are some steps I would recommend to reduce that alarming figure. It's important to make sure your child’s coaches know how to recognize and deal with potential concussions, and if one does occur, they need to keep in touch with the medical provider to make sure they know when it’s safe for the child to return to play.  Secondly, each child should practice good sportsmanship not only on the field during game play, but also during practice, because this is where 1/3 of these types of injuries occur. Lastly, it’s crucial that each child wears appropriate protective equipment. Helmets are a must for riding activities, such as cycling or skateboarding, or collision sports, such as football or ice hockey. They help reduce the risk of a serious brain injury or skull fracture. Be aware, however, that helmets are not designed to prevent concussions. That's why your child needs to avoid hits to the head as much as possible.

What steps do you recommend people take if they experience a minor sports-related injury?

If you suffer a mild sprain or strain, you should use the R.I.C.E. method right away. First, you should rest and reduce your activity, especially in the affected limb and joint.  Use crutches if necessary. Secondly, you should place ice on the area immediately to reduce swelling, but use it for no more than 20 minutes at a time, four to eight times a day. You can also keep the swelling down by wrapping the injured area with a compression bandage.  And finally, it’s important that you keep the wounded area elevated, above the level of your heart if possible. 

If these steps fail to reduce the pain or swelling after a period of a few days, you should definitely seek evaluation and treatment from a specialist.


Dr. Salvador O. Montenegro’s areas of expertise include the nonsurgical treatment of sports injuries, fracture care, injury prevention, joint injections and much more. He is board-certified in both Family Medicine and Sports Medicine.

Appointments with Dr. Montenegro, or any member of Watson Clinic’s Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine department, may be scheduled by calling 863-680-7214.


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