PEDIATRICS recent issues

Soccer Injuries in Children and Adolescents

Participation in youth soccer in the United States continues to increase steadily, with a greater percentage of preadolescent participants than perhaps any other youth sport. Despite the wide-ranging health benefits of participation in organized sports, injuries occur and represent a threat to the health and performance of young athletes. Youth soccer has a greater reported injury rate than many other contact sports, and recent studies suggest that injury rates are increasing. Large increases in the incidence of concussions in youth soccer have been reported, and anterior cruciate ligament injuries remain a significant problem in this sport, particularly among female athletes. Considerable new research has identified a number of modifiable risk factors for lower-extremity injuries and concussion, and several prevention programs have been identified to reduce the risk of injury. Rule enforcement and fair play also serve an important role in reducing the risk of injury among youth soccer participants. This report provides an updated review of the relevant literature as well as recommendations to promote the safe participation of children and adolescents in soccer.

Updates on an At-Risk Population: Late-Preterm and Early-Term Infants

The American Academy of Pediatrics published a clinical report on late-preterm (LPT) infants in 2007 that was largely based on a summary of a 2005 workshop convened by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, at which a change in terminology from "near term" to "late preterm" was proposed. This paradigm-shifting recommendation had a remarkable impact: federal agencies (the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), professional societies (the American Academy of Pediatrics and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists), and organizations (March of Dimes) initiated nationwide monitoring and educational plans that had a significant effect on decreasing the rates of iatrogenic LPT deliveries. However, there is now an evolving concern. After nearly a decade of steady decreases in the LPT birth rate that largely contributed to the decline in total US preterm birth rates, the birth rate in LPT infants has been inching upward since 2015. In addition, evidence revealed by strong population health research demonstrates that being born as an early-term infant poses a significant risk to an infant’s survival, growth, and development. In this report, we summarize the initial progress and discuss the potential reasons for the current trends in LPT and early-term birth rates and propose research recommendations.

Mental Health Competencies for Pediatric Practice

Pediatricians have unique opportunities and an increasing sense of responsibility to promote healthy social-emotional development of children and to prevent and address their mental health and substance use conditions. In this report, the American Academy of Pediatrics updates its 2009 policy statement, which proposed competencies for providing mental health care to children in primary care settings and recommended steps toward achieving them. This 2019 policy statement affirms the 2009 statement and expands competencies in response to science and policy that have emerged since: the impact of adverse childhood experiences and social determinants on mental health, trauma-informed practice, and team-based care. Importantly, it also recognizes ways in which the competencies are pertinent to pediatric subspecialty practice. Proposed mental health competencies include foundational communication skills, capacity to incorporate mental health content and tools into health promotion and primary and secondary preventive care, skills in the psychosocial assessment and care of children with mental health conditions, knowledge and skills of evidence-based psychosocial therapy and psychopharmacologic therapy, skills to function as a team member and comanager with mental health specialists, and commitment to embrace mental health practice as integral to pediatric care. Achievement of these competencies will necessarily be incremental, requiring partnership with fellow advocates, system changes, new payment mechanisms, practice enhancements, and decision support for pediatricians in their expanded scope of practice.

Achieving the Pediatric Mental Health Competencies

Mental health disorders affect 1 in 5 children; however, the majority of affected children do not receive appropriate services, leading to adverse adult outcomes. To meet the needs of children, pediatricians need to take on a larger role in addressing mental health problems. The accompanying policy statement, "Mental Health Competencies for Pediatric Practice," articulates mental health competencies pediatricians could achieve to improve the mental health care of children; yet, the majority of pediatricians do not feel prepared to do so. In this technical report, we summarize current initiatives and resources that exist for trainees and practicing pediatricians across the training continuum. We also identify gaps in mental health clinical experience and training and suggest areas in which education can be strengthened. With this report, we aim to stimulate efforts to address gaps by summarizing educational strategies that have been applied and could be applied to undergraduate medical education, residency and fellowship training, continuing medical education, maintenance of certification, and practice quality improvement activities to achieve the pediatric mental health competencies. In this report, we also articulate the research questions important to the future of pediatric mental health training and practice.

Women in Pediatrics: Progress, Barriers, and Opportunities for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

Gender bias and discrimination have profound and far-reaching effects on the health care workforce, delivery of patient care, and advancement of science and are antithetical to the principles of professionalism. In the quest for gender equity, medicine, with its abundance of highly educated and qualified women, should be leading the way. The sheer number of women who comprise the majority of pediatricians in the United States suggests this specialty has a unique opportunity to stand out as progressively equitable. Indeed, there has been much progress to celebrate for women in medicine and pediatrics. However, many challenges remain, and there are areas in which progress is too slow, stalled, or even regressing. The fair treatment of women pediatricians will require enhanced and simultaneous commitment from leaders in 4 key gatekeeper groups: academic medical centers, hospitals, health care organizations, and practices; medical societies; journals; and funding agencies. In this report, we describe the 6-step equity, diversity, and inclusion cycle, which provides a strategic methodology to (1) examine equity, diversity, and inclusion data; (2) share results with stakeholders; (3) investigate causality; (4) implement strategic interventions; (5) track outcomes and adjust strategies; and (6) disseminate results. Next steps include the enforcement of a climate of transparency and accountability, with leaders prioritizing and financially supporting workforce gender equity. This scientific and data-driven approach will accelerate progress and help pave a pathway to better health care and science.

Concussion Incidence and Trends in 20 High School Sports


Ongoing monitoring of concussion rates and distributions is important in assessing temporal patterns. Examinations of high school sport-related concussions need to be updated. This study describes the epidemiology of concussions in 20 high school sports during the 2013–2014 to 2017–2018 school years.


In this descriptive epidemiology study, a convenience sample of high school athletic trainers provided injury and athlete exposure (AE) data to the National High School Sports-Related Injury Surveillance Study (High School Reporting Information Online). Concussion rates per 10 000 AEs with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) and distributions were calculated. Injury rate ratios and injury proportion ratios examined sex differences in sex-comparable sports (soccer, basketball, baseball and softball, cross country, track, and swimming). We also assessed temporal trends across the study period.


Overall, 9542 concussions were reported for an overall rate of 4.17 per 10 000 AEs (95% CI: 4.09 to 4.26). Football had the highest concussion rate (10.40 per 10 000 AEs). Across the study period, football competition-related concussion rates increased (33.19 to 39.07 per 10 000 AEs); practice-related concussion rates decreased (5.47 to 4.44 per 10 000 AEs). In all sports, recurrent concussion rates decreased (0.47 to 0.28 per 10 000 AEs). Among sex-comparable sports, concussion rates were higher in girls than in boys (3.35 vs 1.51 per 10 000 AEs; injury rate ratio = 2.22; 95% CI: 2.07 to 2.39). Also, among sex-comparable sports, girls had larger proportions of concussions that were recurrent than boys did (9.3% vs 6.4%; injury proportion ratio = 1.44; 95% CI: 1.11 to 1.88).


Rates of football practice-related concussions and recurrent concussions across all sports decreased. Changes in concussion rates may be associated with changes in concussion incidence, diagnosis, and management. Future research should continue to monitor trends and examine the effect of prevention strategies.