Young athletes are not little adults - Dr Loretta O'Sullivan-Pippia


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Dr Loretta O'Sullivan-Pippia is a Specialist Sports & Exercise Physiotherapist. Loretta established Twelve9teen Sports Physiotherapy in 2009 - a practice dedicated to young athletes. Academically, Loretta holds a Bachelor in Physiotherapy, a Post-Graduate Diploma in Sports Physiotherapy and a Doctorate of Clinical Physiotherapy. Her research at undergraduate level focussed on abdominal function; at post-graduate level on ankle injuries; and at Doctoral level on knee cap pain in teenage girls. She has lectured extensively in Australia and overseas on sports rehabilitation, knee injuries and adolescents in sport. Loretta has been working with sports teams and athletes since she graduated in 1993. She has worked in a variety of sports including rugby union, netball, track and field, swimming, gymnastics, dance, hockey, football, tennis, along with many others. Her clients have ranged from school and club teams/athletes through to international athletes, including Olympic gold medallists. Many of the athletes Loretta worked with as junior athletes are now competing in the NRL and Super Rugby competitions. In this episode we cover;
  • What is adolescence? How do we define adolescence?
  • How important is adolescence in the lifespan as part of a young athlete's development
  • What are the important parts of adolescent development
  • The frustration young athletes can feel during adolescence
  • The difference between paediatrics and adolescence
  • The "athlete window" occurs for most people during adolescence
  • Key injuries that occur frequently in the adolescent population
  • They won't "just get better" because they are adolescents
  • The importance for parents and coaches to work with practitioners who have a dedicated interest in adolescents
  • Parents as load managers
  • The balance between helping and enabling adolescents
  • Stress and the impact on decision making and planning for adolescents
  • Strategies to help young athletes manage training loads and rehabilitation
  • Age of consent for young athletes - what is it? Does consent vary depending on the situation?
  • Emerging trends in young athletes and injuries
  • Long term impact of sports injuries in young athletes


Dr Loretta O'Sullivan-Pippia

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