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Improving Safety and Reducing Risk in Youth Contact Sports


Concussion – no matter who you are or where you go today – is a word that has been splashed across many sports and mainstream media headlines. As such, it is a word that has provoked a collective fear and doubt in the minds of the public – perhaps most especially among parents of young athletes participating in "contact sports."

And the medical community is weighing in. A recent editorial in the journal Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research asks: "Do Orthopaedic Surgeons Belong on the Sidelines at American Football Games?" The authors answer that question with a collectively resounding "no." Their rationale is well-intended and varied – from the notion that concussions aren't the primary area of expertise for orthopedic surgeons to a physician's moral obligation to not engage in helping a sport continue if it has known risks. Though I'm not an orthopaedic surgeon, most of the associate colleagues in my practice are, and yet the tenor and tone of this piece alarmed me.

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