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Medstar Health Monday - Week 12

Using Food to Heal Your Injury

“I’m injured, shouldn’t I eat less because I’m not training? Won’t I gain weight if I eat the same?”, I hear this a lot as a
healthcare professional.

Engaging in healthy eating behaviors when injured is critical to healing, fueling the growth of bones, minimizing muscle
loss, and optimizing brain function. The majority of the diet, in general, should include whole, unprocessed foods like
the ones you find on the perimeter of your grocery store. Consuming highly processed foods can be inflammatory to
the body, slowing down the healing process. Ensuring adequate amounts of protein is important to reduce muscle loss
from inactivity. For certain injuries, like concussions, there are more specific potential diet changes that may be
appropriate. A registered dietitian can be a great resource for developing the best diet for your child, especially if you
begin to see negative behavior changes in your child.

Your child athlete’s appetite may decrease naturally when injured, given he or she is not expending as much energy.
But I often hear parents say “you’re not working out as much, so you should eat less.” This negative association between
food and fitness can create a thought process that is very hard to break. As a parent or coach, your role is integral in
demonstrating optimal healthy habits, be careful not to demonize certain food groups. For example, carbs are not the
enemy, in fact, they’re essential to fuel your child’s activities. And be sure to practice what you preach. Sending mixed
messages about nutrition to your child, like eliminating categories of food (i.e. going “low carb”), or by engaging in
poor nutritional habits yourself, can lead to confusion on what is proper to your growing, healing child. Food is fuel for
proper healing and for health.

Top 3 Dietary Tips:
1. A diet primarily made up of whole, natural, unprocessed foods is optimal for general health and healing injuries
2. Your child may naturally desire less food given the reduction in activity, but don’t restrict food groups or types of food
just because they’re injured.
3. If you’re not sure what to do or have concerns, please see a registered dietician.

Click here for a handout detailing "Nutrition for Injury Recovery and Healing"

Baltimore Union Sports Medicine Team

Union Sports Medicine Liaison: Bryan Caplan, DPT, MTC ([email protected])
Athletic Trainer:Amber Radtke, MS, LAT, ATC, NASM-CES ([email protected])
Strength and Conditioning Coach: Jay Dyer, CSCS ([email protected])
Vice President of MedStar Sport Medicine: Sean Huffman
Director of MedStar Sports Medicine Research: Andy Lincoln

Baltimore City (Harbor Hospital)
Physician: Jeffrey Mayer, Leigh Ann Curl
Sports PT: Chadd Baldwin
Concussion PT: Emily Coates

Baltimore County (Franklin Square)
Urgent Care: MedStar Franklin Square ED
Physician: Frank Dawson, David Cohen, Christopher Looze
Sports PT: Ryan Zimmerman
Concussion PT: Michael Ariete, Jana Bille

Baltimore County (Dundalk)
Physician: Kelly Ryan
Sports & Concussion PT: Laura Long

Baltimore County (Timonium)
Urgent Care: MedStar Prompt Care Towson
Physician: Andrew Tucker, Richard Levine, Melita Moore
Sports PT: Chad Keller
Concussion PT: Patrick Miller

Harford County (Bel Air)
Urgent Care: MedStar Prompt Care
Physician: Sean Curtain
Sports PT: Chelsea Mitchell
Concussion PT: Adrienne Nelson
Concussion PT: Tori Palmer

Baltimore County (Perry Hall)
Urgent Care: MedStar Prompt Care
Sports PT: Stephanie Stover
Concussion PT: Mark Musselman

MedStar Sports Medicine is the official medical team for the Baltimore Ravens, Baltimore Orioles, Washington Capitals, Washington Wizards, Baltimore Blast, Washington Spirit, and more than 50 additional professional, collegiate, high school, and club teams.


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