Is Primary Care Sports Medicine Right For You?

By: Press Release - Alexandra Phillips
| Published 02/03/2020

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An active lifestyle is the key to good health. But it can also lead to the aches, pains, strains and stresses that make ongoing participation in sports and other activities a challenge.

That’s why one of the fastest growing specialties in health care today is primary care sports medicine – personal physicians with training, knowledge and expertise in treating the typical injuries and issues that can accompany an active lifestyle.

“There are many benefits to seeking care with a primary care sports medicine physician. We have additional training to manage orthopedic injuries that may otherwise require a referral to an orthopedic surgeon for treatment,” says Gillian Wooldridge, D.O., a board-certified primary care sports medicine specialist at Houston Methodist Orthopedics & Sports Medicine at Clear Lake. “We have training in the management of medical conditions, such as hypertension and diabetes, in an active and athletic population.”

“Our foundation of training is in our primary specialty, be it family medicine or pediatrics, but we combine that foundation with specialized training to manage a broad range of injuries from sprains to fractures to concussions,” says Wooldridge. “Sports medicine physicians are uniquely qualified to diagnose and treat injuries and other concerns brought to the clinic by teen and preteen athletes.”

Wooldridge also treats adults who enjoy tennis, golf, running and other activities, as well as those who simply have ongoing orthopedic issues.

“My goal is to help my patients proactively manage their health so they can remain as active as they desire,” says Wooldridge. “We often have close working relationships with school athletic trainers and are able to easily communicate our recommendations for treatment. We have recommendation letters for injury management and concussion accommodations built into our electronic medical records system to streamline that communication. There is also x-ray available in our clinic in addition to casting, splinting and other supplies for musculoskeletal injury treatment. All of these are things that a child’s pediatrician may not have readily available, which can take a lot of time for a busy clinic.”

For young athletes, Wooldridge also handles pre-participation sports physicals; fracture and dislocation management; heat illness; and, of growing importance, concussion management – including the use of ImPACT (computer-based Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing).

“Concussions are a very serious health issue for young athletes,” says Wooldridge. “The long-term impacts of concussion can be devastating. That’s why identifying when a concussion has occurred – and making certain that young athletes get the follow-up care and treatment they need – is critical.” Wooldridge also helps patients manage chronic conditions such as asthma, arthritis and diabetes.

“Our presence in the community eases that burden from the athlete’s pediatrician or family medicine physician so they are able to focus on other aspects of patient care,” says Wooldridge. “A primary care sports medicine specialist can be ideal for people who want help managing their condition so they can return to the activities they enjoy.”

Wooldridge sees patients at the Nassau Bay and League City locations of Houston Methodist Orthopedics & Sports Medicine at Clear Lake. To schedule an appointment, visit houstonmethodist.org/appointments or call 713.393.9090.

About Houston Methodist Clear Lake Hospital

Houston Methodist Clear Lake brings the expertise and compassionate care of Houston Methodist Hospital in The Texas Medical Center to Clear Lake communities. The hospital provides a broad spectrum of adult medical and surgical care, is an accredited chest pain center, and is also a Primary Stroke Center designated through DNV. Houston Methodist Clear Lake offers many inpatient and outpatient services including a Breast Care Center with 3-D mammography, state-of-the-art imaging, labor and delivery with a level II neonatal ICU, Cancer Center, weight loss surgery and advanced laparoscopic surgery, comprehensive orthopedics and sports medicine, cardiovascular services, neurology, urology and otolaryngology. Visit houstonmethodist.org/clearlake to learn more and to find a doctor near you.