print this page

Ensuring a safe sports season

August 15, 2012

Dr. Joseph Lellman, orthopedic surgeon at BMP- Mary Lane OrthopedicsWare, MA - Dr. Joseph Lellman’s lifelong involvement in sports drew him to orthopedics and orthopedic surgery. From simple fracture care to the latest in orthopedic surgical procedures Dr. Lellman, of Baystate Medical Practices-Mary Lane Orthopedics tells of a passion in orthopedic medicine and how much joy he finds in restoring function and returning his patients to their normal daily activities.


Lellman, an avid cyclist who has been involved in competitive road and cyclocross racing since 1993, has a long history and love for sports. He is associate physician for the US Ski Jumping Team, the team physician for the Northampton High School football team for the last seven years, and is on the board of directors of the Northampton Cycling Club. In addition to cycling, Dr. Lellman enjoys snowboarding, cross country skiing, and plays baseball for the Quabbin Valley Over Thirty Baseball League.


Dr. Lellman knows the challenges and risks for a serious injury that can accompany sports, giving him a greater compassion for the patients he treats.


As the summer draws to a close and the new school year looms ahead, student athletes at all levels will be starting their new seasons with high expectations.


Avoiding injury is a fundamental aspect of athletic success, which most athletes take for granted. Although many traumatic injuries are the result of unavoidable accidents, (especially in collision sports like football), most overuse injuries, and many traumatic injuries, can be avoided with proper preseason and in season training.


While it is best to stay in condition throughout the summer in order to be ready for the fall sports season, the old maxim, "Better late then never," applies. Flexibility, strength, and endurance are the hallmarks of physical fitness; athletes should include the following exercises to stay in shape year round:


Aerobic Conditioning should include a running program, with gradually increasing distances and times, and intensities and speeds.

Agility Training should be added after a solid base of mileage has been gained.
Athletes in any sport need to be able to move and change direction and position of the body quickly and effectively while under control. Agility, by the nature of its demands in terms of stopping and starting, requires good basic strength.


Static Stretching is a set of movements, or stretches, that are done to lengthen, or stretch out, a muscle. These types of stretches are different from others because they are done when the body is at rest and is not moving. Slow and fluid movements are used to get to the stretched position, and this position is held for a certain period of time. There is no movement or bouncing while in the stretch. There are no additional weights used in a static stretch, body weight is the only weight used. Static stretching should be performed after a good warm-up, or at the conclusion of the workout.

Core Exercises and weight training should be done 2-3 times per week in the off season, and less frequently during the season. All powerful movements originate from the center of the body, your core. Anything you do that requires movement also requires balance and stability. Your core helps you stay upright and helps you to absorb the impact from the ground when running or jumping. The core area is your mid-section and is your center of gravity and includes muscles groups in your pelvis, hips, lower back and abdomen. All of these muscles work together and overlap and connect with each other. Exercises that develop core strength include the use of equipment such as a stability ball, medicine balls, kettlebells, wobble boards, Yoga and Pilate's.

Strengthening Exercises are vital to keep the muscles that support your back, abdomen, knees, chest, shoulders, neck, and wrist strong and less susceptible to injuries. Strong muscles mean greater endurance and energy. Strengthening exercises work muscles as they move against resistance. This resistance can come from workout machines, free weights or barbells, elastic bands, water, stairs, hills. Strengthening exercises should begin with the core, and should include all muscle groups of the upper and lower extremities as well.


A final reminder is that protective equipment should be properly adjusted and fitted, and in good working condition. Replacing running shoes regularly, and making certain that pads, helmets, and mouth-guards, fit well and are not excessively worn is important in protecting athletes from injury.


With ongoing attention to fitness, strength, and flexibility, a healthy and successful sports season becomes a more realistic goal.


Dr. Lellman sees patients in two locations: Baystate Medical Practice Mary Lane Orthopedics, at Baystate Mary Lane Hospital in Ware or at 95 Sargent Street, Rt. 9 in Belchertown. For more information, or to schedule an appointment, call the Baystate Medical Practice Mary Lane Orthopedics at 413-967-2577.