Doctors are in the center of the Comprehensive Model of organized Participation in Sports, Recreation and Exercise (SRE) and Coaching Supervision.

Doctors encourage Children to get involved in SRE for better health and social well being, providing that all safety rules are followed and Coaches adhere to normal supervisory / caretaker behaviors.

SRE begins with the Pre-Participation Physical Examination, interspersed with diagnoses and treatments following injuries and the end of participation which might end with no return to SRE participation following severe injuries.

In the event of an Epidemic of Morbidity and Mortality, Doctors will be called as expert witnesses to testify concerning the causes for injuries or deaths and/or SRE reforms or possibly a specific SRE termination.
[Injury Prevention in Child and Adolescent Sport: Whose Responsibility Is It? Carolyn A. Emery, PhD,* Brent Hagel, PhD,† and Barbara A. Morrongiello, PhD‡Clin J Sport Med _ Volume 16, Number 6, November 2006]

However, “the main and first issue is that parents aren’t aware of the possible risks of playing a sports. Many parents just simply sign their children up for sports without looking into the dangers of participating.”
[Dorine C.M. Collard, et al. “Acute Physical Activity And Sports Injuries In Children.” Applied Physiology, Nutrition & Metabolism 33.2 (2008): 393-401]

A second issue is that it is imperative that Doctors screen out the potential Athletes who are at risk for injury and death due to a medical conditions Doctors find during the Pre-Participation Physical Examination.

A third issue is that Doctors are mandated to report Child Athlete Endangerment, Maltreatment and Physical and Psychological Abuse and Sexual Abuse. Doctors have been negligent in that duty.

“The Chicago Tribune reported that in 1904, there were 18 football deaths and 159 serious injuries, mostly among prep school players. Obituaries of young pigskin players ran on a nearly weekly basis during the football season. The carnage appalled America.

“Newspaper editorials called on colleges and high schools to banish football outright. “The once athletic sport has degenerated into a contest that for brutality is little better than the gladiatorial combats in the arena in ancient Rome,” opined the Beaumont Express. The sport reached such a crisis that one of its biggest boosters—President Theodore Roosevelt—got involved.

At first “In life, as in a football game,” Roosevelt wrote, “the principle to follow is: Hit the line hard; don’t foul and don’t shirk, but hit the line hard!”

In 1903, the president told an audience, “I believe in rough games and in rough, manly sports. I do not feel any particular sympathy for the person who gets battered about a good deal so long as it is not fatal.”

“Football was fatal and in the 1905 season it appeared to be a “death harvest.” It resulted in 19 player deaths and 137 serious injuries and even Roosevelt acknowledged it required reform if it was to be saved. With his son Theodore Jr. now playing for the Harvard freshman team, he had a paternal interest in reforming the game as well.

“An intercollegiate conference, which would become the forerunner of the NCAA, approved radical rule changes for the 1906 season
[How Teddy Roosevelt Saved Football, by Christopher Klein, History in the Headlines, September 6, 2012]

“The special legal duties and liabilities team physicians have are rapidly developing areas of law (Collum, 2001). Since 1990, there has been a significant increase in sports medicine related litigation (Gallup, 1995). The increasing economic benefits of playing sports, such as college scholarships or multi-million dollar professional contracts, have inspired injured athletes to seek compensation for injuries resulting from negligent medical care (Herbert, 1991).”

There were 7 areas for potential liability and concern for physicians and trainers who deliver care to Athletes described in this research. Maintaining malpractice insurance coverage was one of the areas included.
[Practical and Critical Legal Concerns for Sport Physicians and Athletic Trainers ISSN: 1543-9518 by: Steve Chen & Enrico Esposito The Sport Journal, United States Sports Academy]

“Children and young adults are playing a large variety of sports in ever-increasing numbers.”
[LexisNexis 2012]

In the near future, will physicians be denied malpractice insurance for Athlete Injuries because of the “significant increase in sports medicine related litigation”?

Also worrisome is the other possibility, that premiums for malpractice coverage of Athlete Injuries might sky rocket and be cost prohibitive for Doctors and Trainers? Hence they will discontinue care for Athlete Injuries.

Concussion mismanagement is an example of an injury with significant malpractice risk for Doctors and Trainers.

Abstract: “The areas of liability that physicians and trainers may face in their delivery of care. Major topics which were covered by this article included: (1) informed consent and participation risks, (2) physician-patient relationship, (3) immunity issues, and (4) risk management. In conclusion, seven protective strategies were recommended for sport physicians and athletic trainers to insure acceptable service standards. They were: (a) maintaining a good physician-client relationship with athletes; (b) obtaining informed consent and insist on a written contract; (c) educating the athletes, parents and coaches concerning issues of drug abuse, assumption of risks, confidentiality; (d) performing physical examinations carefully, and be cautious on issuing medical clearance; (e) formulating a risk management plan and properly document hazards and records; (f) participating in continuing education and recognize your qualifications; and (g) maintaining insurance coverage.”
[Practical and Critical Legal Concerns for Sport Physicians and Athletic Trainers ISSN: 1543-9518 by: Steve Chen & Enrico Esposito The Sport Journal, United States Sports Academy]

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