Ortho Horizontal Menu
Ortho Footer Menu

Sports Medicine Program

The CHOC Children’s Sports Medicine Program offers young athletes unrivaled services for their sports-related needs. Under the direction of Dr. John Schlechter, we work one-on-one with each patient to develop a unique plan—with an emphasis on preserving future growth and function, and a safe return to play. Whatever the sport, we’ll make sure young athletes are playing at the top of their game.

When Injuries Happen

Injuries in childhood and adolescence can have lasting effects into adulthood. Our pediatric-trained orthopaedic surgeons and physical therapists treat young athletes with a specialized care not seen at adult practices. Whether it’s physical therapy or surgery with rehabilitation, our team is here to help athletes recover safely and return to play. Learn more about the sports injuries we treat and our tips for injury prevention.

Athletic Training

We know that youth sports are competitive. Through our athletic training program, we give athletes a competitive edge by enhancing their natural talents and providing them new skills in their chosen sport, all while teaching techniques to prevent injury. Our team consists of certified athletic trainers, physical therapists, physical therapist assistants and sports medicine physicians. Training programs can be tailored to individuals and/or groups and will cover:

•    Speed, agility and coordination
•    Strength training and conditioning
•    Injury prevention
•    Skills specific to the athlete’s sport
•    Cardiovascular endurance.

Each program begins with an individualized movement evaluation by a physical therapist who will assess body mechanics and gait patterns as they relate to the athlete’s goals. Our video analysis records movement so that our physical therapists can pinpoint at-risk body positions that may lead to injury. We train athletes in all sports at all ages, from youth leagues through competitive high school teams. Most programs are designed with 2-3 sessions per week for 6-12 weeks, depending on the athlete’s needs. All exercises are age appropriate and tailored to their level of physical development and skill.

Training for Coaches and Teams

Coaches may also schedule special sessions with our athletic training team. We will educate your staff on injury prevention and develop training programs that can be used to improve your team’s performance. We can also provide team training for larger groups, conveniently at your practice facility.

Our Team, on Your Turf

soccer team

No one knows more about recognizing athletic injuries than our sports medicine physicians. We can be on the sidelines of Orange County athletic events working with certified athletic trainers to provide instant medical care for injuries when they occur.

To partner with CHOC Children’s for sports event coverage, call us at 714-509-4054, option 2.

Is your athlete okay to play?

To address the growing incidence of sudden cardiac arrest in young athletes, our sports medicine team collaborates with the CHOC Children’s Heart Institute to offer the Life-Threatening Events Associated with Pediatric Sports (LEAPS) program. Learn how your child's school can help prevent a serious event.
Sustaining a concussion is a serious matter that often needs more than a trip to the emergency room or a bag of ice. Our concussion team, led by pediatric neurologists, can help your family with a carefully guided plan to manage symptoms and return to sports and school. Learn more about our Concussion Program.
Exercise-induced asthma is frequently diagnosed in children and adolescents. Our pediatric allergists can thoroughly screen an athlete to make sure he or she is ready to play. Learn more about our pediatric asthma testing.
Competition can cause some athletes to react both physically and mentally in a way that can affect their performance negatively. They can work through these issues and improve athletic performance with the help of a sports psychologist. Our psychologists help young athletes develop the mental skills necessary to: perform consistently in training and competition, increase adherence to exercise programs, realize their athletic potential, and identify specific behaviors and emotions that impede performance. Our experts can also offer coping strategies when an injury affects ability to participate in sports or exercise activities. To schedule an appointment with a sports psychologist, please call (714) 509-8481.

At CHOC Children's, we have expertise in both pediatrics and sports health. We know young athletes like no one else.

If you're on the fence about your child playing contact sports, neurologist Dr. Sharief Taraman warns of concussion and says you should weigh the risks.

Sports medicine specialist Dr. John Schlechter explains how female athletes are eight times more likely to have an ACL tear in the knee than male athletes.

Cardiologist Dr. Anjan Batra discusses the causes of sudden cardiac death and recommends that young athletes get a heart screening before playing sports.

Pediatric psychologist Dr. Nadia Torres-Eaton gives six ways to help young athletes overcome mental barriers and improve their game.

Connect with the Sports Medicine Team

We have a team of pediatric sports medicine physicians, with board certification in orthopaedic surgery and special training to treat young athletes:

Also on our team are physical therapists, certified athletic trainers and psychologists, all skilled at helping athletes do their best and stay safe and healthy.


For more on our sports medicine services or to make an appointment, please call CHOC Children’s Rehabilitation Supervisor Mollee Oh, PT, DPT, OCS, at 714-509-3203.

Long Live Childhood

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Instagram Snapchat LinkedIn YouTube