The Right Kind of Medicine and Therapy Can Treat Most Student Athlete Injuries.
Just like it takes a team to play sports ranging from football to soccer, it takes a team of coaches, mental health professionals, nutritionists, academics, and sports medicine doctors to provide the help athletes need to reach their top level of performance.
"I'm part of the team that takes care of the Razorback teams, along with my partners who are orthopedic surgeons," said Ramon Ylanan, MD, a Sports Medicine Specialist with the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine in Fayetteville. "We have created a team-oriented care model with athletes at the center of that equation. We have layers of specialists to take care of athletes. My part is one small cog in the bigger wheel. It is a blast to be able to do what I do."
For the fall football season, the first thing is to give players a physical to make sure they haven't had any new injuries. If an athlete has an injury, they try to get out in front of it and be proactive. In about 90 percent of the cases, the injury can be managed without surgery.
Once the football season starts in early September, it becomes a seven-day-a-week job for Ylanan and his partners. The team has regular practice Mondays through Fridays, Saturday games and Sunday post-game injury clinics. They also take care of soccer and volleyball players through November-December. Starting in November, they go into both men's and women's basketball with an average of two home games a week, and then into track, softball and baseball. In the course of a year, the only month there aren't sporting events at the college is July.
With every sport, it is rare to find an athlete who gets to the college ranks who hasn't had some injury in the past. Some are more nuisances and others can affect performance.
"We figure out how to rehab them, and change the way they work in the workout room so the injury isn't aggravated," Ylanan said. "Some are recovering from surgeries. We try to be proactive on whatever the issue. We will be smart how we train them, and how we take care of them. We talk with the coaching staff and come up with a plan to allow the athletes to be able to do what they want to do."
Ylanan said sports medicine is always an interesting field with new tricks, gadgets, and thought processes about how to get a competitive advantage, how to keep athletes safer, and help them recover from an injury faster.
"There are always new things, but it is hard to figure out what is worth the time and money," Ylanan said. "You would be surprised what old ways still really work in the training room. Regarding concussion, we have three tools to get baseline tests before they get on the field that include vision, cognitive, and balance testing. With baselines of all those aspects, if an athlete has an injury, we have a measuring stick from which to compare."
A lot of the athlete injuries can be handled non-operatively.
"The right kind of medicine and therapy can treat most student athlete injuries," he said. "That is also true with weekend warriors. With the right rehab and medicine, you can get people back to what they love doing. And if a patient needs surgical intervention, I have a great partner to handle that."
Before vaccines were available for Covid-19, a lot of people became less active in order to prevent catching or spreading the virus. Ylanan said there was a bit of deconditioning, but now people are getting really active again. People are back to playing pickup basketball in the gym, pickleball has become really popular, and interest in lacrosse and ice hockey are increasing. Any of those sports can cause injuries, but Ylanan said the health benefits of exercise are tremendous.
And it doesn't necessarily need to be extremely intense exercise to get good results regarding blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and weight control. He recommends walking or riding a bike as there are many excellent trails throughout Northwest Arkansas.
"People in quarantine were getting bikes and becoming active in ways they had never done before because it was safer to be outside than inside while exercising," Ylanan said. "It took almost six months to get a bike for my son because of the demand."
Ylanan and his wife, Melissa, have two children, AJ and Mia.
"My current hobby is watching my kids doing all the fun things they enjoy," he said. "My son plays baseball, football, soccer, basketball and wants to try track. I coach my son's baseball team. My daughter is into a little bit of everything, dance, tumbling, volleyball, basketball and softball. My kids are all about being active."
Ylanan joined UAMS Health Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine in 2019, and has
more than 11 years of sports medicine and SEC team physician experience. He was born and lived in the Philippines until he was 16. His great-grandfather on his father's side, Regino Ylanan, was also a physician, a major figure in the field of sports medicine in the Philippines going back into the 1920s.
Growing up, Ylanan played a ton of different sports including tennis, volleyball and golf, but had a special love for baseball, which he played all the way through high school.
"Being in sports and loving everything to do with sports made it natural for me to want to specialize in sports medicine, which I love," Ylanan said. "I like taking care of all the kids at the university. They are kids who are enjoying their sport, and I find a way to make sure they can do all the fun stuff they enjoy. I'm blessed and honored to be able to do it."
Prior to serving as the head primary care Sports Medicine Specialist for the Razorbacks, Ylanan was team physician for the University of South Carolina Gamecocks. His experience includes caring for six NCAA College World Series teams, as well as multiple NCAA Track and Cross-Country Championship Razorback teams. In addition to his SEC experience, Ylanan has provided care for the Columbia and Alabama Ballet companies, multiple high school programs in the Birmingham, Ala., Columbia, S.C., and Fayetteville, Ark., areas, and has served as medical director for the HogEye Marathon.
After earning his medical degree from Ross University, he completed his family medicine residency at the University of Missouri and serving as a chief resident, he completed his Sports Medicine fellowship at the American Sports Medicine Institute in Birmingham, Ala.
For more information, go to: UAMS Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine Clinic in Fayetteville, Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine Clinic in Fayetteville | UAMS Health
Photo notes: headshot, action shot of Ylanan working with Razorback athlete in training rooms.