Background

Pediatricians are often the care providers that have the 2nd most exposure to concussions. This level of exposure would only be second to athletic trainers who most likely are the most exposed to and manage many of the concussions in the populations that they serve. Pediatricians level of exposure to concussions are very comparable with sports medicine doctors and the pediatric patients rely on their experience and knowledge is relied upon for when and how youth athletes should return to play. With such a high burden placed upon pediatric doctors, it is important to understand the attitudes that they express and what they recommend to their patients.

Results

This researched framed the questions about pediatricians own children which could serve to be problematic because taking care of your own child versus taking care of a patient is a wholly different process. Nonetheless, a very high percentage (77%) said they would not allow their own child to play football, and 80% said that full contact practice should be limited or eliminated. Additionally, the physician’s perceptions of football versus ice hockey differed because although they produce comparable injury rates for concussions. This discrepancy could be explained by the amount of media coverage and emphasis on changing policies in the respective sport governing bodies.

Outside influence

Since 2000 it has been the position of the AAP to eliminate body checking for players underneath the age of 15. This policy has been implemented to a certain extent in both the US and Canada, however, they both have stopped short of implementing the 15 and under with prohibiting checking for players aged 12 years and under [1] [2].

Conclusion

This research provided some good insights into a small sample size of pediatricians [N=198] and how they feel about their own children playing sports with the risk factor of concussion at the forefront. Overall, it seems that reducing contact in any way for younger players and patients enables better levels of skill once the players reach those higher levels.

You can find this research article in full here.

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