Whether your child plays Saturday morning soccer or under the Friday night lights, when he or she goes down on the field, those few moments of the unknown can seem like an eternity. When waiting for answers about the extent of an injury, the imagination can run wild with worry.

In recent years, several local groups of sports medicine physicians have offered Saturday morning clinics during the sports season to provide answers and relief. Dr. Allan Smith is part of such a clinic provided by OrthoArkansas and Arkansas Specialty Orthopaedics in Little Rock, now in its 18th year.

He and his colleagues can be found on the sidelines each week at Sheridan, Lonoke, Baptist Prep, Bauxite, Harmony Grove, Bryant, Robinson, Cabot, Maumelle, North Little Rock, Catholic, Mount St. Mary and Episcopal high schools.

“The most common injuries we see are ACL injuries, ankle sprains, meniscus tears and shoulder sprains,” says Dr. Smith. “For a parent, a huge advantage of these Saturday morning clinics is the peace of mind that comes from a diagnosis and prescribed course of treatment.”

Traditionally, after an athletic injury, an appointment would be made with an orthopedic physician for evaluation, a second appointment for an MRI, and a third appointment for the follow-up and treatment plan based on the MRI results. This leads to time away from work and school and is often inconvenient for parents and students. With a Saturday morning clinic, all of these visits are combined into one.

“Same-day MRIs and physical therapy evaluations are a way to get people back on their feet and in the game as soon as possible,” says Dr. Smith. “Rather than having to wait until Monday to talk about furthering care and perhaps waiting even longer to actually begin that care, someone who obtains an injury can walk in for potential treatment hours after it occurs. This can also mean a much quicker recovery.”

Of course, Dr. Smith adds, there are circumstances in which injuries should not wait even until Saturday morning to be examined, but may warrant a trip to the ER. These include head or neck injuries, visible deformity of an extremity, open lacerations or wounds, or severe abdominal or chest pain. “When in doubt, use your best judgment,” he says.

The OrthoArkansas and Arkansas Specialty Orthopaedics Saturday walk-in clinic is held from 9-11 a.m. at 800 Fair Park Blvd. Insurance is billed as a walk-in clinic, but instead of a PA or nurse practitioner, the patient sees a sports medicine specialist. Most major insurances are accepted, including ARKids.

For more information, call 501-786-6070 or follow OrthoArkansas and Arkansas Specialty Orthopaedics on Facebook.