Female teen athlete jumps over hurdles on high school track

At Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, we understand that no matter how many homers they hit or goals they score, teen athletes have different needs than adult athletes. Their bodies—including bones, joints and muscles that are still growing—require a level of specialized care that only a pediatric team can provide.

Our Orthopedics and Sports Medicine Program team only treats teens and kids and is the only nationally ranked program for teens in Georgia.* We understand how to get teens safely back in the game, prevent long term injury, and help them reach goals in their sport for years to come.

Choosing a sports medicine specialist trained to care for kids and teens will help ensure that every aspect of your child’s physical and emotional well-being is being considered. Some issues unique to teens include the following:

  1. Growth plates are still open in teens. These are responsible for your teen athlete’s growing bones. If the growth plates are injured while playing, it can cause damage that could sideline your teen if not properly treated by specialists who know growing bones best.
  2. Teens experience different kinds of injuries. Teens participate in competitive sports much more frequently and intensely than adults, so they sustain different types of injuries than average adults do.
  3. Teens are different emotionally and may need to be motivated differently than adults. Sports physical therapists spend significant time with teen athletes, allowing them to better understand the emotional needs of an athlete and properly motivate them during rehabilitation.
  4. Teens may allow themselves to be defined by their sports. Teens often let their performance in sports define themselves and can struggle emotionally while sidelined. Our program understands the importance of getting teens back on the field to play the sport they love.
  5. Teens are under pressure to perform. Teen athletes who have gone on to become professional athletes have trusted Children’s to help get them where they wanted to be. We understand the work teen athletes put into their sport and the pressure they face when wanting to make it to the big leagues.
  6. Teens require a longer recovery period. Despite common misconceptions, growing and developing teen athletes actually require more recovery time than adults in order to properly develop their muscles and decrease the risk for illness and injury.

These are just a few of the many reasons why it’s important to consider who is treating your teen athlete and to choose a pediatric sports medicine specialist who understands how to navigate the unique challenges teen athletes face. The Children’s Sports Medicine Program has a multidisciplinary team of pediatric specialists with expertise in a variety of sports and conditions who offer a full continuum of care. They guide athletes from assessment of their injuries through diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation until kids and teens can safely return to play. We aren’t just focused on treating the injury; we want to make sure your athlete can play for years to come.

*No. 10 on the U.S. News & World Report “Best Children’s Hospitals” list for 2023-24.