Sports Medicine Center for Young Athletes

The UCSF Sports Medicine Center for Young Athletes is the first sports medicine program in Northern California to work exclusively with young people. We evaluate, treat and train athletes ages 5 to 25 who compete or participate at any level. Specialized care is important because the bones and cartilage in growing bodies tend to be susceptible to different injuries than those in physically mature athletes. Without correct treatment, overuse injuries in young athletes can lead to lasting disability that extends into adulthood.

Trained and experienced in the most current methods, our experts provide comprehensive medical care for injured patients to help them regain or reach their own highest levels of performance. The Sports Medicine Center for Young Athletes also offers access to orthopedic surgery, including leading-edge minimally invasive surgery.

Our team includes orthopedic surgeons, family physicians, physical therapists, fitness experts and an expert in women's sports injuries. We work together to create an individually tailored treatment plan for each patient. 

Equally dedicated to injury prevention, we focus on enhancing the efficiency of the training process, educating and supporting coaches and managers, and improving the understanding of sports science through the center’s ongoing research.

Our locations (5)

    Expert team

    Each athlete who comes to us receives care from a team of experts who work exclusively with young athletes. Our team includes:

    • Orthopedic surgeons
    • Sports medicine doctors
    • Physical therapists specializing in sports
    • Certified athletic trainers
    • Biomechanists
    • Kinesiologists
    • Certified strength and conditioning specialists
    • Sports nutritionists

    Improving performance

    At our Sports Performance Lab in Walnut Creek, we offer customized biomechanical analysis and training programs for both individuals and groups, designed to maximize recovery from injury, prevent future injuries and optimize performance. Our programs ensure that patients have the knowledge and guidance they need to safely and efficiently reach their potential. We use a medically informed approach to training that serves to keep our patients in the game and measurably boost their performance.

    Motion analysis

    Every sport involves motion, and all too often, incorrect motion results in less than optimal performance – or injury. At our Motion Analysis Lab in Walnut Creek, we use advanced computer technology and our own expertise to analyze an athlete's movement patterns and identify functional limitations and asymmetries. Using cutting-edge motion analysis technology, we evaluate biomechanics, movement, displacement, impact forces, velocity, acceleration, oxygen consumption and other components of physical activity, and process all of this information to create a clear picture of an individual’s challenges and needs. We can then determine the most beneficial exercises and movement modifications to help that athlete move correctly, perform better and avoid injury.

    Depending on the sport or activity, initial evaluations take one to three hours.

    We offer these specialized services:

    • Sports performance training, injury prevention and wellness education
    • 3D kinematic testing, with and without plantar pressure evaluation
    • Video analysis
    • Energy cost analysis
    • Dynamic surface and electromyography
    • High-speed cameras to enhance analysis

    Testing for specific sports

    Running Evaluation and Training Program

    This program is specifically designed to benefit runners. The goal is to identify and correct biomechanical tendencies that may lead to future injury, especially for runners who experience pain while running or want to improve their running efficiency. The program offers:

    • A full biomechanical gait analysis using high-speed video, force plates and electromyography (measuring electrical activity in the muscles)
    • Interpretation and recommendations from our experts for reducing injury or overcoming a current injury
    • Further testing – such as to assess strength, flexibility and joint range of motion – if needed to determine the reasons underlying any movement impairment

    Return-to-Sport Evaluation

    This program assesses an athlete's readiness to return to their activity after an injury or surgery, and provides a plan for doing so. It includes:

    • Evaluation of the athlete’s ability to perform sport-specific tasks (such as jumping or lateral movements) using high-speed cameras and force plates
    • Motion analysis to detect biomechanical tendencies that may place the athlete at risk for re-injury, with tests that evaluate balance, running symmetry and muscle strength
    • A patient-specific rehabilitation or return-to-sport training program, typically to follow the conclusion of formal rehabilitation and precede a return to full participation

    Physical Therapy Assessment

    This one-hour session provides the athlete with a biomechanical evaluation, a comprehensive evaluation from a physical therapist, and an individualized training regimen.

    Throwing or Pitching Analysis

    This analysis of throwing motions is offered for both quarterbacks and pitchers, and provides a starting point from which they can improve. The results can be applied to enhance overall muscular fitness, reduce the likelihood of football- or baseball-related throwing injuries, and improve game performance.

    Volleyball Spiking Analysis

    • A full biomechanical evaluation of the spiking motion, including analysis of high-speed video taken during spikes
    • Generation of a complete report of joint kinematics, body segment rotations and rotational speeds, with insights drawn through comparison to data from elite collegiate volleyball players
    • Interpretation and recommendations from our experts for reducing injury risks or overcoming a current injury

    Lacrosse Shooting or Throwing Analysis

    • A full biomechanical evaluation of motions in the dominant and nondominant arms, including analysis of high-speed video taken during throws
    • Generation of a complete report on joint kinematics, body segment rotations and rotational speeds, with insights drawn through comparison to data from other players in similar positions
    • Interpretation and recommendations from our experts for reducing injury risks or overcoming a current injury

    Golf Swing Analysis

    Body markers are placed on the upper and lower body to track motion during a full golf club swing. An analysis of the results is used to enhance overall muscular fitness, reduce the likelihood of golf-related injuries, and improve playing performance. The athlete’s results are compared to data from professional golfers.

    Gait Analysis and Foot Pressures

    This interactive testing session involves walking, running and jumping on a pressure-sensitive mat to assess gait and foot-pressure distribution. We use the latest technology in portable gait assessment, the GAITRite mat, to identify walking or running stride patterns, high-pressure areas of the foot, and center of mass as an athlete moves.

    Pricing and referral information

    • For motion analysis evaluations, price depends on the type of testing being performed. The range is $150 to $450.
    • Follow-up training costs $95 per session.
    • The Sports Performance Lab accepts insurance coverage for physical therapy referrals.
    • For appointments or more information, please call (925) 979-3420.
    • For testing referrals, please complete our referral form for the Motion Analysis & Sports Performance Lab (PDF)

    Runner's Clinic Biomechanical Evaluation

    In a monthly clinic for runners aged 9 to 25, we perform an assessment designed to provide insights into muscle, joint or movement dysfunctions that can impede running performance or lead to injury. Our team of professionals uses each participant’s results to create an individualized exercise program that will improve mechanical efficiency. The cost is $75.

    We offer this clinic on the fourth Tuesday of each month, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., January through November. Space is limited, so reserve a spot by registering now.

    Motion Analysis & Sports Performance Lab
    Sports Medicine Center for Young Athletes
    2401 Shadelands Drive, Suite 170
    Walnut Creek, CA 94598

    Call (925) 979-3420 or email [email protected].


    Forms are available for download as PDFs. To download, view and print PDF files, you need Adobe's Acrobat reader.

    Please print and complete before your first visit:

    Please print and complete before attending a Sports Performance class:


    We rely on a number of motivated volunteers to help with light cleaning and clerical duties. For information on becoming a volunteer, please visit UCSF’s Volunteer Services website.

    Awards & recognition

    • Ranked among the nation's best in 10 specialties

    Plan your visit

    Preparing for your appointment

    What to Bring

    • Photo I.D.
    • Health insurance card
    • Insurance authorization, if required
    • Doctor's referral, if required
    • Recent test results related to your child's condition
    • List of medications, including dosages, plus any your child is allergic to
    • List of questions you may have
    • Device or paper for taking notes

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    Your Stay

    We offer valuable information to help you plan for your child's upcoming hospital stay. Find out about food services, family accommodations and more.

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    Your Child's Care Team

    Our doctors, nurses, child life specialists and other providers have special training to care for children. Meet your child's care team.

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    Interpreter Services & Communication Assistance

    Interpreter services in many languages and TDDs are available for families that need help communicating with care teams. Here's how to access them.

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    Support services

    Child Life Services

    Activity rooms, pet therapy and more to help kids feel at home.

    Child Life

    Certified child life specialists ease the stress and anxiety of childhood illness through therapeutic play, schooling and family-focused support.


    Sports Performance Classes

    Experienced sports medicine professionals help young athletes excel on the field with training and injury prevention classes. Learn more and sign up.

    Family Amenities

    Family-friendly amenities help you relax and take care of yourself while staying close to your child. We offer lounges, kitchens, showers, breastfeeding rooms and more.


    Social Services

    Social workers ease the effect of illness, injury and hospitalization on your family with counseling and assistance to help you navigate the challenges.


    Activity Rooms

    Activity rooms offer a relaxed environment for children of all ages. Features include a playroom, digital arts studio and teen lounge. Find out more.


    Art Therapy

    Art therapy helps kids and families express themselves, making it easier to cope with pediatric health issues. Group and bedside services are available.


    Music Therapy Program

    Board-certified music therapists help kids cope with illness and the feelings that come with it. Find out about group activities and bedside therapy.


    School Program

    Our schoolroom services and individual learning programs help children hospitalized at UCSF continue their education and get ready to return to school.


    School Re-Entry Program

    After hospitalization, we help kids return to school by educating staff and students about their needs and recommending needed accommodations. Read more.


    Individual Playtime & Instruction

    If your child can't be around other kids for medical reasons, you can sign up for private sessions in our activity and school rooms. Find out how.


    Interpreter Services & Communication Assistance

    Interpreter services in many languages and TDDs are available for families that need help communicating with care teams. Here's how to access them.

    Family Resource Center

    We help families cope with the challenges of childhood illness and hospitalization in a relaxing environment where parents can get a much-needed break.


    Parent Support Program

    Weekly activities, including knitting, scrapbooking, chair massage and more, help family caregivers get a much-needed break. Find out more.


    Patient Relations

    Patient relations reps and nursing supervisors are here to answer questions and address concerns. Learn about your rights, how to reach us and more.


    Spiritual Care

    Chaplains help UCSF patients, families and staff cope with the spiritual and emotional challenges of childhood illness. Learn more.


    International Services

    If you're coming to UCSF from outside the U.S., we coordinate your child's appointments and provide other helpful services. Here's how to get started.

    Stress-free visits

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