Loma Linda University Children’s Health hospital in Indio announced Wednesday it will expand its pediatric sports care thanks to a grant from the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation.

The Coachella Valley Spotlight Grant will allow the hospital to establish a dedicated pediatric sports medicine program through the purchase of equipment such as hand-held ultrasound machines and portable automated defibrillators, the foundation said.

The hospital also plans to use the funds to purchase durable medical equipment, including knee and ankle braces, splint/casting supplies and other sports medicine equipment, according to spokeswoman Cara Van Dijk.

“Diagnosis and treatment for child athletes is much different than adults, because their physical development is still underway.” said Dr. Jonathan Smits, a pediatric sports medicine physician at the Indio facility.

“If not treated appropriately, musculoskeletal injuries can follow a child into adulthood causing future health care issues and physical limitations.”

Catharine Reed, vice president of charitable programs for the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation, said that “with no other dedicated program like this in area, Loma Linda is fulfilling a specific need that can help thousands of school-aged children participating in sports in our valley.”

More than 4,000 patients have received care from the hospital since its opening in 2018, according to Van Dijk.

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