Midway through my phone conversation with author David Epstein, the thought came to mind: How is this guy not a doctor in physiology or sports psychology or orthopedics or all of the above?
Phrases like transcendent athleticism, self-regulating behavior, and sports specialization were just a small sampling of the discussion about the foundation of greatness in sports, which Epstein will focus on as the keynote speaker at the annual BayCare Sports Medicine Conference on Saturday, Aug. 9 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Hilton St. Petersburg — Carillon Park.
Since the release of his national bestseller, The Sports Gene, in August 2013, Epstein has been asked to speak at several conferences about the importance of the “10,000 hours rule” and its potential damage to the performance and health of young athletes. In the book, the Sports Illustrated senior writer examined the difference between the genetic makeup of an athlete and the habitual practice in determining success in sports.
“I’ve enjoyed sharing my research and my experience with people interested in something I am very passionate about,” said Epstein, who was a member of the varsity track squad at Columbia University. “The book came about very organically and was ultimately about answering my own questions about how athletes become great. It has developed into something well-received by those involved in guiding and instructing those involved in athletics.”
On Saturday, Epstein will join other sports medicine experts in an event dedicated to giving parents, athletic trainers, youth coaches, and health professionals the key information they need to keep young athletes in the game in a healthy way. Along with Epstein, presentations will include information on preventing overuse injuries; female athletes and eating disorders; managing the child athlete’s asthma; and gaining a competitive edge through good nutrition. BayCare’s Sports Medicine team also will explore the hidden threat of concussion in young athletes.
Koco Eaton, MD, an orthopedic surgeon and a team physician for the Rays, will act as emcee of the day-long event. “We think that athletic success for young athletes is no accident,” said Dr. Eaton, who is instrumental in organizing the Sports Medicine Conference. “It is a combination of hard work but also knowing when the body needs rest and when medical intervention is necessary.”
Registration fees are $35 for students; $40 for adults; and $65 for physicians and health care professionals who are seeking continuing education credits. Registration includes all sessions, a continental breakfast and lunch. Continuing education credits (CEUs) and continuing medical education credits (CMEs) offered to health professionals for attending the day-long conference are: physicians and physician assistants — 6.5 AMA PRA Category 1 credits; nurses — 6.5 CEUs; physical therapists, physical therapy assistants, occupational therapists, occupational therapy assistants, radiology technologists — 7.5 CEUs; athletic trainers — 7.0 CEUs.
To register or for more information, please visit SportsMedConference.org or call (727) 953-9192.