Morning Medical Update Friday 2-18-22

Media Resources

Jill Chadwick

News Director

Office: (913) 588-5013

Cell: (913) 223-3974


The University of Kansas Health System COVID patient numbers have remained stable. Significant numbers include:

  • 58 active, the same as yesterday
  • 13 in the ICU, up from 12 yesterday
  • 5 on ventilators, down from 6 yesterday
  • 74 recovering, up from 70 yesterday
  • 35 total COVID deaths so far for the month of February

Key points from today’s guests:

Dr. Doug Burton, Interim Chair of Orthopedics

  • Expectations for recovery performance are different for pro athletes and amateurs, although the treatment of patients is the same
  • COVID has limited how many patients we could see and telemedicine has really spiked
  • The most common spine injuries we see are lumbar strains, but we also see tumors of the spine, fractures, and degenerative issues. The less active you are, the more prone to back pain you may be – find the happy medium between exercising regularly and not overdoing it
  • We see a lot of spine injuries from overtraining -- maxing out on weightlifting vs. focusing on form
  • If you’re not an athlete, tips for avoiding spine injuries include wearing seat belts and avoiding falls (especially from ladders)
  • Men are typically engaged in riskier behavior more, so they are more prone to spinal injuries, but women as they get older experience osteoporosis at a higher rate, which leads to more spinal issues.

Dr. Bryan Vopat, Team Physician for the Kansas City Chiefs

  • There’s not much difference between pro and amateurs when it comes to training. Sports medicine specialists focus on the pro athlete’s goals just like everyone else’s athletic goals
  • Off-season training is key, many athletes need some time off first to recover and then engage in specific training like strength training, speed training, etc.
  • Be cautious of overtraining with young athletes. “Sports sampling” is good – it involves multiple sports vs. just one sport in order to avoid injuries with overuse
  • Get into routines for training so it helps avoid injuries from stop/start activities

Dr. Vincent Key, Head Team Physician for the Kansas City Royals and President of the Medical Advisory Board for Major League Baseball (MLB)

  • Despite the current delay with the MLB season, players still need to get ready
  • There have been impacts of COVID on training. We are incorporating some learnings from the NFL. For example, COVID testing and the timeline for return to play if infected may be shortened
  • Player vaccinations are not required, but we are seeing very high vaccination rates. Unvaccinated players will have more restrictions.
  • Most common injuries players need to avoid are shoulder and elbow injuries. This can happen if they are ramping up to quickly. For hamstring injuries, a new Nordic training program has led to a significant decrease in those injuries through different training
  • When it comes to workouts, more is not better, smarter is better

Community Questions

  • Easy recommended stretches? – Get joints moving in the morning. Stretching every day is important. One good stretch for your back is to lay on your back and pull each knee up to your chest, then with both knees
  • How should parents get ready now for fall sports? – Summer training programs are great at getting them prepared and helping them avoid injuries
  • How are players getting ready if they don’t know when the lockout will end? – Guys are still getting ready to go, they are just doing it in other places other than spring training
  • Why aren’t vaccinations required in MLB? – Those rules are negotiated between leagues and the players associations.
  • Are vaccinated and boosted more likely to get Omicron? – People with vaccinations have had less chance to end up in the hospital or dying. Omicron does evade antibodies very well.
  • What about boosters for kids under 15? – We are waiting for more data on that as well as any additional dosing for adults

Monday, February 21 at 8:00 a.m. is the next Morning Medical Update. Dr. Mario Castro, Vice Chair, Clinical and Translational Research at the Kansas University Medical Center and Dr. Steve Stites, Chief Medical Officer at The University of Kansas Health System will talk about new COVID long haul trials.          

ATTENTION: media procedure for joining:

Zoom link:

Telephone Zoom link: 1-312-626-6799, meeting ID: 782 897 8628

TVU Grid link: UoK_Health_SDI

Restream links:

Send advance questions to