For the second consecutive season, athletes who get hurt playing a Friday night sport will have a Northland option for immediate healthcare: After the Lights, a Friday night clinic offered at Liberty Hospital Urgent Care Shoal Creek, 8300 N. Church Road, across from Liberty Walmart. The only clinic of its kind in the Northland, After the Lights is offered 8:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. every Friday night, Aug. 18 to Oct. 20. Injured athletes will see a physician — without going through an emergency room or waiting until Monday; an orthopedic surgeon also will be available.
In its first season last fall, injured athletes from across the Northland were able to visit the After the Lights clinic and not only receive immediate care, but also they had a plan of follow-up care when they walked out the door.
“We had a very successful first year,” said Michael Justice, D.O., medical director for the Friday night clinic and orthopedic surgeon at OSI, Inc. “We were able to treat numerous area athletes, and on several occasions, we were able to obtain an MRI the night of the injury and provide definitive answers for the athlete and family before they even went to bed.”
While the focus is on football injuries, After the Lights is open to all athletes, who participate in any sport or activity who are injured on a Friday night. This includes cheerleading, dance, marching band, soccer, baseball/softball, volleyball and more.
“Any injury that raises a concern and a parent or a coach feels like the athlete needs to be evaluated, bring him or her to the clinic,” Dr. Justice said. Digital X-ray services are available at the clinic, and, if needed, an MRI can be performed at Liberty Hospital.
“It’s a nice option for families to see someone who has the ability and training to manage an athlete’s injury,” Dr. Justice said.
Not only does the athlete receive care the same night of the injury, but he or she also will leave the clinic with a plan for recovery, according to Sharla Leon, MS, SLP-CCC, Director of Liberty Hospital Sports Medicine.
“We can start the recovery process sooner by fast-tracking athletes who come to After the Lights clinic,” she said. “We can fit them with crutches or knee braces, if necessary, and when they leave, they will know what follow-up is needed.”
A network of area physicians along with the orthopedic surgeons from OSI will operate the clinic in conjunction with Liberty Hospital Sports Medicine and The Liberty Clinic. Liberty Hospital Sports Medicine will offer Monday appointments for physical therapy ordered after a visit to the After the Lights clinic.
“This program will help us take care of our kids in our community,” Leon said. “They will start their recovery process faster so they can get back to their sport.”
Signs that your athlete may need to be evaluated immediately include:
- joint swelling
- difficulty moving
- failing to bear weight