A Personalized Approach for Young AthletesSponsored By University of Miami Health System

Dr. Lee Kaplan is the director of University of Miami Sports Medicine Institute, part of UHealth, University of Miami Health System. To make an appointment, visit online or call (855)-465-2604. For more on sports medicine at UHealth, click here to go to University of Miami’s health news blog.


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High school sophomores Mia and Sofia Briones are fraternal twins who share the goal of playing collegiate soccer. When Mia hurt her Achilles tendon and Sofia injured her knee, they turned to Dr. Lee Kaplan, director of University of Miami Sports Medicine Institute.

Dr. Kaplan works with young athletes to design a customized approach to healing that will return them to play as soon as safely possible. The key to working with young players is getting to know them and understanding their goals, says Dr. Kaplan.

“It is devastating for a young athlete to be on the sideline because so much of their identity comes from being an athlete,” says Kaplan. “We find out as much as we can about who they are so we can we can better determine how to help them recover.”

As center back, Mia helps protect the goal. Although she often plays through her injuries, when Dr. Kaplan prescribes rest, she listens. “He pays attention to my level of pain and he goes directly to my goal,” she says. “It’s fast, it’s simple, and he gets me to 100 percent really quickly.”

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“If playing soccer makes them happy, then I want them to be able play at their highest potential,” says the twins’ mother Patricia Briones, who has seen Dr. Kaplan for her own knee pain. “Dr. Kaplan engages my girls, he communicates with them, and he understands their needs. Now they are stronger than before and mentally equipped to be back on the field.”

The team at University of Miami Sports Medicine Institute includes radiologists, sports medicine physicians, surgeons, and physical therapists all under one roof at The Lennar Foundation Medical Center in Coral Gables. Trainers from EXOS human performance company work alongside the sports medicine team to craft exercise and nutrition plans for patients that complement their treatment.

From professional athletes to people who participate in recreational sports, the sports medicine team treats all knee, shoulder, and elbow injuries, whether they occur on or off the field. “Sports-related injuries happy to everybody. A person who slips on the ice on a visit up north may injure their rotator cuff in a similar way to someone who plays tennis,” says Dr. Kaplan, who is also medical director for University of Miami athletics and the Miami Marlins. “We’re applying a skill set we learned working with athletes at the highest level to all of our patients.”


Focusing on You: Innovations in Modern Medicine is a series of healthcare-related stories airing regularly on CBS-4. For more stories like this one, visit YouTube channels for UHealth, University of Miami Health System.

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Above content provided by Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center and UHealth, University of Miami Health System