Rafael knew something felt wrong. “I overdid it,” explained the 12-year-old competitive gymnast. It turned out he had stress reactions in both of his legs due to repeated overuse. If left untreated, his injuries could have turned into bone fractures.
The middle of three brothers, Rafael first started doing gymnastics at age three and has been competing since he was seven. His events are the trampoline and the double mini, which is an apparatus smaller than a traditional trampoline. His older brother is also a competitive gymnast.
“When [Rafael] told us about his legs hurting a few months ago, I did a Google search and came across the Fight For Children Sports Medicine Center,” said Rafael’s mother Rebecca. The state-of-the-art clinic in downtown Silver Spring, MD, is home to one of the only pediatric sports medicine programs in the region, and it is the only facility in the region dedicated to meeting the needs of young athletes. In addition to clinical care and physical therapy, the clinic also offers top-of-the-line imaging, athletic training and a 3D motion analysis lab.
Rebecca was pleasantly surprised to discover that the brand new facility was so close to her family’s home. “Because it focuses on kids, I was especially excited,” she said. She called and made an appointment with Keyur Desai, M.D., a primary care sports medicine physician who recommended that Rafael start physical therapy after a period of rest to let his injury partially recover.
A few weeks later, Rafael was paired with Kevin McGuinness, PT, DPT, a sports medicine physical therapist at the clinic. “He was just so much fun to work with, such a willing patient and participant in everything I challenged him with,” Kevin said of Rafael.
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