Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Dr. Mom Shouldn't Be the One Diagnosing Sports Injuries

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sports injury

Leave it to the real doctors, Dr. Mom! Credit: Corbis

Can you move your arm? Then it's not broken. Can you count how many fingers someone is holding up? Then you don't have a concussion.

Now, the big question: Did you go to medical school? Then you could be a qualified physician. Otherwise, you might want to stop making ballpark diagnoses.

Your child may be able to continue to play after a bonk on the head. However, that doesn't mean he or she doesn't have a concussion.

Parents and coaches admit they lack the information to detect sports injuries, USA Today reports.

According to the newspaper, a survey by Safe Kids USA and Johnson & Johnson reveals that 40 percent of parents feel there is a gap between what they know and what they should know about preventing and responding to sports injuries.

Only 35 percent say their child plays sports with a certified athletic trainer. And only 29 percent feel the coach knows how to prevent sports injuries.

USA Today reports more than 3.5 million children ages 14 and younger are treated each year for sports-related injuries. These include concussions, dehydration, heat stroke and sprains. More than half of these injuries are preventable, according to the newspaper.

"This epidemic of youth injuries hasn't happened overnight. It's a cultural change," William Levine, a physician and the incoming chair of STOP Sports Injuries, tells USA Today. His organization is made up of physicians who want to make sports safe for kids.

He adds that sports have gone from a seasonal activity for kids in the past 10 years to a lifestyle. When one sport ends, another begins.

Jean Rickerson, a mother and founder of, tells the newspaper it will take another movement to eliminate the parents' knowledge gap.

"We're changing a culture and the culture doesn't change overnight," she says.

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