Speakers Address Osteoarthritis Prevention and Treatment Recommendations During NATA Convention

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

At the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) 68th Clinical Symposia and AT Expo in Houston today, leading health care experts participated in a national press conference, “Reducing Your Risk from Osteoarthritis: What You Can Do, What the Research Says” and unveiled new research from a special osteoarthritis (OA) issue of the Journal of Athletic Training, NATA’s scientific publication available online this morning. The event took place at the George R. Brown Convention Center.


Speakers also shed light on the challenges facing individuals across the lifespan – from the onset of youth injuries that may become chronic to baby boomers and seniors who may experience those conditions much later in life.


Houston Rockets’ forward Sam Dekker spoke about his own musculoskeletal challenges. Enos Cabell, former Houston Astros player and current special assistant to the general manager, discussed staying active during and after professional play. Prominent Houston orthopedic spine surgeon Stanley Jones, MD, discussed new frontiers of OA treatment.

To review the full issue, please visit: http://natajournals.org/toc/attr/52/6

“The National Athletic Trainers’ Association is committed to reducing risk of osteoarthritis at all stage of life. The special issue, additional research and general protocols provide all of us with a roadmap to good health,” says NATA President Scott Sailor, EdD, ATC. “This morning’s forum put a spotlight on this public health issue that has dominated headlines given the fact that we are living longer lives and enjoying sports and physical activity throughout our lifespans.”


What the Statistics Say:

  • According to research published in Arthritis & Rheumatology, approximately 27 million adults in the United States aged 25 years and older have a clinical diagnosis of OA of any joint1 and directly costs more than $185 billion annually2 making it a substantial public health burden.
  • A 2010 Global Burden of Disease study ranks OA 11th among all forms of disability worldwide with a large portion of the working population affected by this debilitating musculoskeletal condition.3
  • A study published in Osteoarthritis and Cartilage indicates that an individual with a history of a knee injury is three to six times more likely to develop knee osteoarthritis than an uninjured peer.4
  • A study in the American Journal of Sports Medicine reports knee injuries account for 15 percent of all high school sport-related injuries.5 According to a Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise study, among all knee injuries, 23 percent involve the meniscus and 25 percent involve the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), with isolated injuries to the meniscus accounting for 11 percent and isolated injuries to the ACL, 12 percent.6
  • The early onset of OA in younger populations is often attributable to a history of acute traumatic joint injury. In fact, a history of acute traumatic joint injury is a strong predictor of OA risk.7

Speakers and topics included the special Journal of Athletic Training issue and its three Co-Guest Editors Joseph M. Hart, PhD, ATC, FNATA, associate professor in the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Virginia; Jeffrey B. Driban, PhD, ATC, CSCS, assistant professor in the Division of Rheumatology at Tufts University School of Medicine and Tufts Medical Center; and Abbey Thomas, PhD, ATC, assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology at University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Hart provided insight on the guest editorial, “Athletic Trainers Have an Important Role in Preventing and Treating Osteoarthritis,” and particularly the connection of youth injuries to those that become chronic as we age. The editorial reinforces the importance of prevention and treatment and a sports medicine team approach to care.  

Driban, lead author of the journal study, “Is Participation in Certain Sports Associated With Knee Osteoarthritis?” discussed the findings that sports participation may increase the risk of osteoarthritis, particularly in those who choose to participate in soccer or certain elite-level sports; Thomas, lead author of “Epidemiology of Posttraumatic Osteoarthritis,” addressed the epidemiology associated with posttraumatic osteoarthritis and dedicating resources to counter OA and providing long-term health benefits for patients after joint injury.

Ryan McCann, PhD, ATC, CSCS, assistant professor in the School of Physical Therapy and Athletic Training at Old Dominion University, presented results of “Differences in Functional Capacity and Subjective Symptoms Related to Joint Degeneration in Those With and Without Chronic Ankle Instability,” a study published in the Journal of Athletic Training June 2017 Supplement and with original research from the University of Kentucky. The study is part of the Free Communications sessions, administered by the NATA Foundation. Lingering effects from an ankle sprain prompted college age adults in the study to self-report symptoms related to both ankle and knee joint degeneration early in life. McCann reinforced the importance of complete recovery to reduce the risk of chronic conditions and possible OA as they age.

Stanley C. Jones, MD, a premier Houston orthopedic spine surgeon and stem cell expert affiliated with Memorial Herman Hospital, discussed Osteoarthritis Prevention and Management and New Frontiers of Care.

Sam Dekker, the Houston Rockets forward who broke his hand in April, discussed How to Manage Injury, Stay in the Game and Reduce Risk of Chronic Conditions. Enos Cabell, former Houston Astros player and broadcaster and current Astros special assistant to the general manager, talked about What it Takes to Stay Active During and After a Professional Baseball Career. Their messages resonated with athletes and those who are physically active across the lifespan.

“The focus of today’s event is reducing the risk of osteoarthritis, learning what you can do to prevent and manage it and recognizing the signs and symptoms as we age,” says Sailor. Education is critical to ensure proper protocols are in place to minimize the health risks and financial cost associated with care. Our collective goal is to keep Americans mobile and enjoying physical activity and sports throughout the lifespan.”


1.Lawrence RC, Felson DT, Helmick CG, et al. Estimates of the prevalence of arthritis and other rheumatic conditions in the United States: part II. Arthritis Rheum. 2008;58(1):26–35

2. Kotlarz H, Gunnarsson CL, Fang H, Rizzo JA. Insurer and out-of-pocket costs of osteoarthritis in the US: evidence from national survey data. Arthritis Rheum. 2009;60(12):3546–3553.

3. Vos T, Flaxman AD, Naghavi M, et al. Years lived with disability (YLDs) for 1160 sequelae of 289 diseases and injuries 1990-2010: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010. Lancet. 2012;380(9859):2163–2196

4. Muthuri SG, McWilliams DF, Doherty M, Zhang W. History of knee injuries and knee osteoarthritis: a meta-analysis of observational studies. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2011;19(11):1286–1293.

5. Ingram JG, Fields SK, Yard EE, Comstock RD. Epidemiology of knee injuries among boys and girls in US high school athletics. Am J Sports Med. 2008;36(6):1116–1122.

6. Swenson DM, Collins CL, Best TM, Flanigan DC, Fields SK, Comstock RD. Epidemiology of knee injuries among U.S. high school athletes, 2005/2006–2010/2011. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2013; 45(3):462–469.

7. Lohmander LS, Englund PM, Dahl LL, Roos EM. The long-term consequence of anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus injuries: osteoarthritis. Am J Sports Med. 2007;35(10):1756–1769.