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Scoliosis shouldn't be a barrier to kids and sports

When a child is diagnosed with scoliosis and the treatment plan includes a scoliosis back brace, parents are often concerned that their child will have to forego physical activities, such as sports. National Scoliosis Center points out that engaging in physical activities, including sports, offers many benefits for scoliosis patients, provided they follow the advice or directions from their medical practitioner(s).

Luke Stikeleather, certified orthotist. founder and president of the National Scoliosis Center, understands this concern. "Fortunately, scoliosis patients whose treatment includes bracing are able to participate in physical activities, including sports. We, at National Scoliosis Center, want your child to participate and do all the things that he or she did prior to being prescribed a brace; it's important that they run, jump, and play and have the same quality of life," says Stikeleather.

Experts in the field of scoliosis treatment agree. The National Institutes of Health stresses the importance of weight-bearing exercise, sports, and physical fitness for both strength and a sense of well being for those with scoliosis. (National Institutes of Health) Strong core muscles from exercise and sports are beneficial to your back, according to the Scoliosis Research Society, an international organization of medical practitioners and researchers involved in the research and treatment of spinal deformities. (Scoliosis Research Society)

Experts at the National Scoliosis Foundation, a patient-led nonprofit organization with a mission to assist those with scoliosis and other spinal deformities, point out that many patients who are braced are able to engage in sports. (National Scoliosis Foundation)

Professional and Olympic sports provide us with some encouraging examples of athletes who excelled despite scoliosis. Former professional tennis player James Blake wore a scoliosis back brace during his teen years. (James Blake Story) Olympic swimmer Natalie Coughlin suffers from scoliosis yet brought home six medals for the U.S. Olympic Team at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. (Natalie Coughlin ESPN Interview) World-class cross-country runner Emelia Gorecka's scoliosis treatment included wearing a back brace for 23 hours per day. (Emelia Gorecka BBC Article) Professional dancer Paige Fraser toured with Beyoncé, danced in the Chicago Lyric Opera's recent production of "West Side Story" and sported a scoliosis back brace as a teenager. (Paige Fraser CBS News Story) Other success stories include the legendary track star Usain Bolt (Usain Bolt The New York Times) and former NBA great Tracy McGrady.

National Scoliosis Center has offices in Fairfax, Virginia and Baltimore, Maryland. Luke Stikeleather, founder and president of National Scoliosis Center, serves as the chief orthotist exclusively specializing in scoliosis treatment. Luke is an internationally recognized scoliosis expert, with over 30 years in the field. Some of his accolades include: associate fellow of the Scoliosis Research Society, founding member and 2018-19 president of the International Society of Spinal Orthopaedic and Rehabilitation Treatment (SOSORT) and serving on the BrAIST Bracing Evaluation Committee 2008-2014.

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