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  • Dr. Christina tells why sports are important for all kids — And role modeling is key!

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    Categories 3 on 3, special needs sports, At risk youth, under-served communities, fundraisingTags ,

    PM Pediatrics has been a community partner to Backyard Sports Cares for a number of years. Their contribution to the welfare of children and adolescent health and wellness in Westchester is matched by their time, commitment and generosity in helping foster the sports activity programs we provide to at-risk and special needs kids.

    We talked with PM Pediatrics senior medical advisor, Dr. Christina Johns, to get her perspective on the upcoming 3 vs. 3 Basketball Tournament, ask why PM Pediatrics chooses to support BYSC, and get some health tips for athletes who are ready to play.

    LISTEN to our podcast with Dr. Christina Johns, senior medical advisor, PM Pediatrics

    Q & A with Dr. Christina Johns

    Doctor Christina Johns is a senior medical advisor and also the face of PM Pediatrics, and if you haven’t heard of them, they are a national urgent care practice that specializes in the care of children and young adults. Locally, they have offices in Mamaroneck and Yonkers.

    Welcome, Christina. Not only are you a doctor and a senior advisor for PM Pediatrics, but you really are the public face of the organization. I know you do a lot of spots on Good Morning America, CNN and Discovery Health, which helps spread the word of health and wellness to the over 1.5 million kids that come in to see PM Pediatrics caregivers each year.

    Christina Johns: I am thrilled to be part of this, and absolutely, PM Pediatrics is, as well. We are the largest provider of specialized pediatric urgent care, just for children. We say that we see kids, people, from cradle through college, and we do indeed. And so that makes us have a very important role in acute care for children, because illnesses and injuries don’t always happen at convenient times and convenient places and at convenient hours. So we’re happy to be there to partner with our friends in the community, local pediatricians and families, to keep kids well.

    BYSC: We thank you for that. And speaking of partnerships, the other reason why we wanted to have you guys on is you really have been one of the key sponsors and partners in Backyard Sports Cares’ mission, which is to bring sports programming to kids who are at-risk or have special needs. So talk a little bit about how PM Pediatrics is involved with Backyard Sports and how your mission dovetails with what we do.

    CJ: So obviously, the primary interest there is children and wellness of children and taking care of kids in many different ways, and that involves their physical health. And so exercise and community and getting a chance to interact in a positive way with others is a hugely important piece of that. For our part, we do the acute care. So we see urgent care, so cuts and sprains and rashes and sore throats and breathing problems. We do all of that stuff, but on the flip side, we also think that child advocacy and taking an important role in the wellness of children and their health is key. Much of that means sliding in a tip about exercise or diet at the end of that visit for a sprained ankle.


    BYSC: So, we have this 3 vs. 3 event coming up, and we need to demystify it, because there’s only so much you can tell about this story on social media. You’ve got a bunch of dads, high school kids, and young professionals. What are they doing? They’re creating teams. They’re raising money for Backyard Sports Cares. Okay, what’s all that about?

    So from your standpoint, what would you tell dads? Why do you think it’s important for guys to get a team together and participate in the three on three basketball tournament?

    CJ: Well, first of all, I love it when dads get involved with kids. It is a fantastic thing for me to watch, as a mom, and as a pediatrician, but certainly as a mom. I think it’s terrific for role modeling for young kids. I think, again, creating a sense of community and friendly competition and everything that goes with that. That means thinking about others, as well as yourself, a very important piece of child development. It means being part of a team. It means setting a good example for others, being classy on the sports court or field.

    I think that those pieces and that kind of messaging, from all parents, from all adults, but in this instance, highlighting dads, that’s a fantastic thing, and kids respond to that.

    BYSC: So before we let you go, we should talk about some block and tackle, health benefits, and all that good stuff. We all know, as parents, intuitively, that there’s value in children playing sports, but from a pediatrician’s perspective, what are the physical and mental benefits that sports provide children, adolescents, teens?

    CJ: Sure. Gosh, there are so many, and a couple of thoughts that I have right off the top of my head, obviously, deciding to maintain that active and healthy lifestyle, that starts early. And I think that for establishing that right from the get-go, for very young children, is an important thing. And maintaining that across child development and growing up, as we know that kids are spending more and more time in front of screens. And so establishing very formal, discrete times when they can turn those screens off, interact with real people, get some exercise, which we know combats obesity, has long-term health benefits, cardiovascularly and emotionally. Being able to vent out some frustrations from the school day or what have you. Those kinds of things are key in maintaining a well-balanced kid who is going to grow up strong.  And I think that alone is worth its weight in gold.

    BYSC: We thank you so much. Before we let you go, is there anything else you’d like to tell us? Anything going on, on your end?

    What I really want to say is, everybody, before you go out for your tournament, make sure you stretch. Make sure you hydrate. Make sure you’ve slept well the night before, so that you are ready to have fun, to compete to the best of your ability, and try your best and have a ball.