Student Group Action for Young Athletes in Chicago Offers Sports Medicine Care to North Side Teens


Cynthia LaBella, MD, associate professor in the Feinberg Department of Pediatrics and medical director of the Institute for Sports Medicine at Children’s Memorial Hospital (CMH), and Cynthia Mears, DO, associate clinical professor of pediatrics and medical director of Uplift School Health Center at CMH. Together they advocate for grants and sponsorships to support the clinic, and promote it as a model for other high schools and medical professionals.

LaBella and Mears say the clinic offers Feinberg students an opportunity to learn how to practice in a community with limited resources. Students gain exposure to the fundamentals: clinical and diagnostic skills, presentation techniques, the team-based approach to medicine, and patient advocacy. They also learn about treatment options like rehabilitation exercises and injury prevention strategies for sports-related injuries.

“Feinberg students serve as role models and teach the youth how to prevent further injury and become educated consumers of healthcare,” says Mears.

This free clinic proves crucial to Uplift Community High School and its numerous sports teams. With no athletic trainer, there is no one available to care for injured athletes, so injuries are rarely rehabilitated.

“This programs helps bring much needed care to Uplift youth,” says LaBella. “We all leave the clinic with the feeling that we’ve made a big difference in the lives of these athletes.”

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