S.M.A.R.T Safety & Injury Prevention

The SMART Institute is excited to provide an array of sports safety programs to your organization! For more information on any of our programs, or to set up a program, please contact us by email at SMART@health.usf.edu or by calling (813) 396-9625.

SMART Policies

SMART Institute Lightning Policy 

PITCH Program

PA PITCH Handout

ACL Program

One of the most common sports injuries is a tear of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) of the knee. Many years ago, tearing one's ACL could end a sporting career. In past years, tearing an ACL could remove someone from sports for 6-12 months. Nowadays, our emphasis is on preventing ACL injuries from occurring. The SMART Institute has developed a program that teaches athletes about the importance of training techniques that not only can improve flexibility, strength, power, balance and proprioception, but that may also actually reduce the rate of ACL tears. Females are 4-6 times more likely to tear their ACL versus males, and the incidence has been demonstrated to be higher in sports such as soccer, basketball and volleyball. Learn more about this program that can be brought to your school, organization, or team by contacting the SMART Institute.

Watch Prevent Injury, Enhance Performance (PEP) Videos

 

Common Medical Conditions & Exercise

Members of the Sports Medicine & Athletic Related Trauma (SMART) Institute offer programs that address individuals ability to participate in sports and activities with various medical conditions. The goal of these programs is to help individuals maximize performance and minimize risk of illness and injury. These programs are tailored to meet the needs of a specific population. Some examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Exercise & Activity with Diabetes
  • Exercising with Asthma
  • Safe Exercising Despite Joint Arthritis
  • Maximize Activity with Multiple Sclerosis

Preventing the Spread of Infectious Diseases

Since the inception of the Sports Medicine & Athletic Related Trauma (SMART) Institute at USF Health, our faculty have been working with student athletes in Hillsborough county to prevent and treat injuries. With outreach programs across 10 different schools, the SMART Institute works with 4,500 to 5,000 each day. These student athletes come from a variety of school sports, from football to track & field.

One of the key pieces of SMART's safety and prevention program, is to address the issue of infectious diseases. Because of the competitive nature of high school sports, experts agree there is an elevated risk of infectious diseases being spread among student athletes. Infectious diseases can be spread by skin-to-skin contact, as well as by contaminated equipment shared by athletes. The infectious disease MRSA (short for Community Acquired Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Infection) is especially worrisome because it's resistant to almost all medications.

The link below provides coaches, teachers, athletes and parents with key information to stop the spread of infectious diseases like the deadly MRSA. The following guidelines were posted by the National Athletic Trainers' Association (www.nata.org) in an effort to reach as many people nationwide, as quickly as possible.

The recommended national guidelines are:

  • Immediately shower after each practice or competition.
  • Wash all athletic clothing worn during practice or competition daily.
  • Clean and disinfect gym bags and/or travel bags, if the athlete is carrying dirty workout gear home to be washed and then bringing clean gear back to school in the same bag (note: this problem can also be prevented by using disposable bags for practice laundry).
  • Wash athletic gear (such as knee or elbow pads) periodically and hang to dry.
  • Clean and disinfect protective equipment such as helmets, shoulder pads, catcher's equipment and hockey goalie equipment on a regular basis.
  • Do not share towels or personal hygiene products with others.
  • All skin lesions should be covered before practice or competition to prevent risk of infection to the wound and transmission of illness to other participants; only skin infections that have been properly diagnosed and treated may be covered to allow participation of any kind.
  • All new skin lesions occurring during practice or competition should be properly diagnosed and treated immediately.
  • Playing fields should be inspected regularly for foreign objects and debris that could cause cuts or abrasions.
  • Playing fields should be inspected regularly for animal droppings that could cause bacterial infections of cuts or abrasions.
  • Athletic lockers should be sanitized between seasons.
  • Rather than carpeting, locker or dressing rooms should have tile floors that can not only be cleaned, but also sanitized.
  • Wrestling and gymnastics mats should be sanitized daily.
  • Weight room equipment – including benches, bars and handles – should be cleaned and sanitized daily.

To view guidelines on NATA website, go here.

 

Safe Sports & the Environment

Members of the Sports Medicine & Athletic Related Trauma (SMART) Institute offer programs on sports safety and injury prevention for activities that take place under various environmental conditions. These programs are tailored to meet the needs of a specific organization, club or sports team when preparing to participate in such conditions. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Preventing Heat Illness
  • Avoiding Illness When Exercising in the Extreme Cold
  • Lightning Safety - Know the Risk

 

Sport Specific Injury Programs

Members of the Sports Medicine & Athletic Related Trauma (SMART) Institute offer programs on sports safety and injury prevention that are tailored to meet the needs of a specific organization, club or sports team. Examples include, but are not limited to: