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5.02.2019

UM Sports Researchers Discuss New Approaches to Treating and Preventing Injuries

Cellular therapies to accelerate injury recovery, new approaches to repairing damaged cartilage, and concussions in cheerleaders were among topics explored at the University of Miami’s inaugural Sports Medicine Institute Research Symposium on May 1 at the Newman Alumni Center.

“Today, we highlight the work of our students, residents, fellows and faculty,” said Thomas Best, M.D., Ph.D., professor of orthopaedics and research director at the UHealth Sports Medicine Institute. “Our 15 presenters are studying the prevention and treatment of injuries and disease in collaboration with our colleagues throughout the university.” He also cited the Sports Medicine Institute’s partnerships with the Instituto Ortopedico Galeazzi in Milan, Italy, and the FC Barcelona soccer team in Madrid.

Lee Kaplan, M.D., director of the University of Miami Sports Medicine Institute, the Petra and Stephen Levin Endowed Chair in Sports Medicine, and medical director and head team physician for the Miami Hurricanes and Miami Marlins, welcomed more than 50 attendees to the symposium.

“In addition to seeing patients each day, we focus on research to advance our knowledge of the field,” he said.

Dr. Best moderated the first panel focusing on restoring cartilage using stem cell therapies, which included a keynote presentation on “Articular Cartilage Injuries in Athletics” by José Clemente Ibarra, M.D., Ph.D., director general of Mexico’s National Institute of Rehabilitation.

“Minimally invasive cell-based techniques could have a lasting impact in treating articular cartilage injuries,” Dr. Ibarra said. Other approaches now being studied include electro-spinning of nanofibers for ligaments and meniscus repairs, 3D bioprinting and tissue engineering for ligament reconstruction.

Anthony Griswold, Ph.D., division head of the Center for Genetic Epidemiology and Statistical Genetics at the John P. Hussman Institute for Human Genomics, discussed genomic approaches to stimulate a molecular response after a traumatic injury to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in the knee. Other researchers presented their work on mesenchymal stem cells, and how tendon-derived cells respond to inflammatory environments.

A second panel on patient outcomes was moderated by Michael Baraga, M.D., associate professor of orthopaedics, director of Orthopaedic Sports Medicine Fellowship, and associate director of Orthopaedic Surgery Residency Program at the Sports Medicine Institute.

Gillian A. Hotz, Ph.D., research professor and director of the KiDZ Neuroscience Center, WalkSafe and BikeSafe programs, and co-director of the Miller School of Medicine’s Concussion Program, discussed an increase in reported concussions involving high school athletes, including cheerleaders.

“Last year in our concussion workshop, we spoke with Miami-Dade athletic trainers and asked them to collect data on cheerleaders and provide concussion management when needed,” she said. “We plan to take that data and talk with school athletic leaders here about designating cheerleading as a sport.”

Other presenters discussed outcomes of ACL reconstruction surgery, meniscus injuries in collegiate football players, and resistance training in treating knee osteoarthritis.

Dr. Kaplan moderated the third panel on biomechanics, which included presentations on the role of estrogen on skeletal muscle function and recovery, magnetic resonance imaging of superior capsular reconstruction, foot posture and prior injury history in collegiate pitchers, and National Football League injuries associated with short rest, such as Thursday night games.

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