Keeping Athletes Safe on and off the Field


Story Updated: Nov 7, 2012

(NewsUSA) - Basketball and bicycling rank highest for injuries among recreational sports, causing 1.5 million accidents per year. Baseball, soccer and softball follow, each with almost half a million injuries yearly, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Whether you're upping your own practice schedule or you're a parent of a student athlete headed back to school, heeding a few precautions goes a long way.

Here are some tips from osteopathic physician Marcel Fraix, member of the Fellow of the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (FAAPMR) and assistant professor at Western University of Health Sciences. Fraix is also a staff physician at Casa Colina Centers for Rehabilitation in California, where he specializes in sports-related disorders.

* Start with a check-up when possible. Physical stress on a young body can be harmful when coupled with an underlying medical condition or heart problem. Likewise, get an exam before stressing the heart if you're middle-aged and mostly sedentary.

Pre-conditioning programs for specific sports help. Injuries usually occur at the beginning of the season, when you are most likely to be out of shape. Building hamstrings and inner quadriceps muscles helps prevent knee injuries.

* Diligently use the proper safety equipment, e.g., mouth guards, safety goggles, helmets and elbow and knee pads. Don't forget to apply sunscreen SPF 15 or higher.

* Stay adequately hydrated with water or a water-electrolyte drink. Replacing fluid lost from sweating is essential to maximize athletic performance and prevent heat exhaustion, especially during warm weather.

* Treat injuries on the spot. Keep a first aid kit ready for cuts and scrapes, allergic reactions, insect bites and eye irritations. Most importantly, be prepared to treat muscle pain at the first sign before it sidelines you. There are safe, natural and unscented pain relievers available.

Look for a homeopathic medicine like Arnicare Gel (, which works with the body instead of just masking pain. Try it on legs stiff from running or cycling, or on shoulders aching from too many tennis racket swings. It also helps with pain from strained ligaments or bumps and bruises from hard-fought basketball games.

* Limit practice and playing time. Nearly half of all injuries suffered by children are results of overdoing it. Consider allowing a child to take three months off per year and limiting practice to 12 hours per week for one sport, and 20 hours for multiple sports.

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Dr. Dzwonczyk – Medical Director

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Welcome to New York State Veterans' Home at Oxford
The New York State Veterans' Home at Oxford is a 242 bed facility located in Chenango County about thirty miles north of Binghamton NY. Situated on a sixty acre site, the Home has spectacular scenic views of rural countryland. We provide state of the art medical, nursing, psychosocial, and rehabilitative services to our residents. We also have several academic affiliations including the Upstate Medical Center College of Medicine/Clinical Campus at Binghamton.

About Us
The New York State Veterans' Home at Oxford is a long term care skilled nursing facility. We are located in Oxford NY, and we serve the Central New York Region. We provide care for veterans and their dependents. Our current building has 242 beds in seven different units, including our rehabilitation unit and our dementia unit. Our facility is clean and pleasant, and our staff is friendly and professional. We welcome you to a guided tour upon request!

Dr. Dzwonczyk – Medical Director

Dr. Dzwonczyk Receives Certification in Hospice and Palliative Medicine.

It is with great pleasure that we announce that Philip J. Dzwonczyk, MD has been certified in Hospice and Palliative Medicine. Dr. Dzwonczyk joins more than nineteen hundred fellow physicians to have achieved such certification.

Hospice and palliative medicine is the medical discipline of the broad therapeutic model known as hospice and palliative care. The discipline and model of care are devoted to achieving the best possible quality of life for the patient and family throughout the course of a life-threatening illness through the relief of suffering and the control of symptoms. Hospice and palliative medicine helps the patient and family face the prospect of death assured that comfort will be a priority, values and decisions will be respected, spiritual and psychosocial needs will be addressed, practical support will be available and opportunities will exist for growth and development. Hospice in the United States is an organized program that provides palliative care for terminally ill patients and supportive services to patients, their families, and significant others.

Dr. Dzwonczyk is the medical director of the New York State Veterans Home in Oxford. He recently completed the Harvard Medical School Program in Palliative Care Education and Practice and has worked for many years as an internist and geriatrician practicing in central New York. Dr. Dzwonczyk received his undergraduate degree from the University of Scranton and his doctor of medicine degree from Jefferson Medical College. He trained in internal medicine and psychiatry at the Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital in Cooperstown. He is a diplomate of the American Board of Internal Medicine and holds specialty certificates in Internal Medicine and Geriatric Medicine. He has achieved Certified Medical Director status from the American Medical Directors Association and is a Fellow of both the American College of Physicians and the American Geriatrics Society. Dr. Dzwonczyk has directed the medical care of patients at the New York State Veterans Home since 1993 and has been active as a medical educator. He is a Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine at Upstate Medical University and is active as a member of the faculty of the Geriatric Medicine Clerkship of the Clinical Campus in Binghamton. In addition to his interest in palliative care, Dr. Dzwonczyk has an interest in the evaluation and management of cognitive and mood disorders of the elderly.

The American Board of Hospice and Palliative Medicine was formed in 1995 to establish and measure the level of knowledge, attitudes and skills required for certification of physicians practicing hospice and palliative medicine. Eligibility requirements for certification are significant. In order to be eligible to sit for the certifying examination, applicants must have received prior major specialty certification, practiced at least two years following residency, worked as a member of an interdisciplinary team for at least two years and have directly participated in the active care of at least fifty terminally ill patients in the preceding three years. Alternatively, applicants must have completed specialty fellowship training in palliative medicine. The fellowship training program must be at least one year in length and must meet the established voluntary standards for such a program.

ABHPM conducts its Certification Examination in Hospice and Palliative Medicine annually at multiple sites through the United States. Currently, 1908 physicians have been certified by virtue of meeting certification requirements, including successful completion of this examination. A listing of currently certified physicians may be viewed on the Boards website at

Information on the American Board of Hospice and Palliative Medicine may be obtained from the website at or by call (301) 439-8001.

Welcome to New York State Veterans' Home at Oxford