Sports protective equipment

T H Ellis
Primary Care 1991, 18 (4): 889-921
It is important for the primary care and team physician to become more involved and better informed regarding the athletic equipment process. With the increase in litigation related to sport participation and caused by athletic protective equipment misuse or malfunction, the primary care and team physician can not afford to be an uninformed bystander. Primary care and team physicians serve a very necessary role in the protection of an athlete because they are usually able to serve independently of the school or sponsoring group, thus keeping the athlete's safety and health the primary consideration. Many athletic injuries occur as "unavoidable" accidents, but many others are "preventable." One of the variables involved in preventing injuries is to follow high standards of quality, fitting, use, and maintenance of athletic protective equipment. When we obtain athletic protective equipment, we have made a decision to control the risk of injury. The primary care and team physicians should accept a share of the responsibility in decreasing risk of sports injuries. Diverse public opinion has been generated over catastrophic injuries resulting from sport participation. Most of those injuries involve either the head or neck and may be either permanently disabling or lethal. Any part of the body may be subjected to injury. Sports protective equipment is available for many different sports, with many different injury risks, and for any part of the body. Many involved in the athletic health care delivery system continue to struggle with the "noncompliant" athletic patient. Not surprisingly, the "noncompliant" athletic patient. Not surprisingly, the noncompliant athletes have a higher recurrence rate of injury than do those who are compliant. Anything that the primary care and team physicians can do to decrease the desire of the athletic patient to resist orders for modification of activities to allow an injury to heal is important.

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