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Published on March 18, 2021


Sports Medicine Doctors: Not Just for Injuries


These days, more kids than ever are involved in sports. In the US alone, estimates that 45 million children are playing an organized sport. Stanford Children’s Health says that more than 3.5 million injuries occur each year, and these often cause some loss of playing time. And nearly 1/3 of injuries that children have occur while playing sports.  

Parents are justifiably worried about their kids getting hurt, and often wonder how to lessen the chance of injury. Some things that both professional and amateur athletes can do to prevent injury in sports include:


  • Begin every workout with a warm-up, which helps prepare the body for exercise
  • Make sure to stretch the muscles after warming up
  • Start your workout slowly and build intensity
  • Make sure to have a cool-down period of low-intensity cardio
  • If you have aches and pains that do not improve in 1-2 days, take a day off to rest
  • If those pains do not subside after a day of rest, see your physician
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet


One other way that your child can be at a decreased risk for injury is to work directly with a qualified sports medicine physician. Sports medicine physicians use their training to teach young athletes how to condition and use their bodies to prevent injury. Many athletes and parents of athletes believe that their kids only need to see a sports medicine doctor if they’re injured, but that isn’t true. Sports medicine physicians can help prevent injury by implementing the points above and personalizing them for the individual athlete.

UNC Lenoir Health Care is excited to announce that it’s brought sports medicine to Lenoir County. Dimitri Thomas, MD has joined UNC Health Care and UNC Physicians Network to provide care and treatment of sports-related injuries in Lenoir Co and surrounding areas. 

Dr. Thomas completed medical school at the University of Texas, Southwestern Medical School in Dallas, TX in 2008.  He completed his orthopedics residency at William Beaumont Army Medical Center/Texas Tech Health Sciences Center, El Paso, TX, and his Sports Medicine Fellowship at the University of Missouri.  In 2017, Dr. Thomas was honorably discharged as a Major from the US Army Medical Corps after having served nine years.  Dr. Thomas is joining UNC Orthopedics and Sports Medicine at Lenoir.

Dr. Thomas treats all musculoskeletal structures that can be impacted by training, sports activity, and exercise. The benefit of this knowledge is that he can educate and counsel on injury prevention, which is of great benefit to youth athletes. Dr. Thomas can also advise injured athletes, help to coordinate medical and sports activity and provide general orthopedic care and surgery.

Common surgical and non-surgical procedures frequently performed within the sports medicine subspecialty include:


  • Shoulder, hip, knee, and ankle arthroscopy
  • ACL reconstruction
  • Arthroplasty
  • Cartilage restoration
  • Surgical and non-surgical fracture repair
  • Tendon repair
  • Rotator cuff repair
  • Joint injections

Dr. Thomas can work with individual athletes but is also able to counsel and advise teams in both school and league sports. He can assist teams in Eastern North Carolina, but if your team is slightly out of that area, please contact us to see if we can assist. For more information on how his services can help the athlete in your life, or to discuss him working with your team, contact UNC Lenoir Health Care at (252) 522-4446. No referral is required to utilize this service. You can also visit us at our UNC Orthopedics and Sports Medicine at Lenoir page on the web. For more information about Dr. Thomas, please visit his page online.



Reviewed by Alicia Hawkins on March 18, 2021